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Is " Jersey Shore" harmful to teens?

Updated on July 8, 2011

As a parent of six children, I have been in the parenting profession for over 26 years. In that time I have seen many changes not only in parenting methods but in kids as well. Few people can argue that the present generation has a wildly different opinion of what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior then their parents. What may surprise you is the fact that this is also true between siblings now. The commonly held beliefs between older teens and their siblings born only 5 to 10 years ahead of them show this same discrepancy. At some point in the past 10 years there has been a shift between commonly held beliefs concerning not only how a person should act but what they are entitled to.

An explanation for this must come from factors new to the societal equation.One factor that can not be discounted is the introduction of modern media and reality shows targeted at teens. Teens of this era are more influenced by the media around them then in any other time in our history. The use and reliance of modern technology is changing our society as a whole. The lives of teens though revolve around the cell phones,and lap tops available today. Texting and social networks have replaced more common forms of communication and television programming is now targeted directly at teens.Because of this teen trends and fads move faster and are more widespread than ever before. Attitudes have also changed.The advent of reality shows, like "Jersey Shore" and "The Hills" targeted at teens and young adults increases this dynamic by glorifying examples of adolescents with extremely dysfunctional behavior and attitudes. These disturbed individuals are set up as role models who get more attention and notoriety in direct correlation to how outrageous their behavior is. I do not believe that the increase can be completely blamed on tv however when you look at the increase in self destructive behavior and attitudes as opposed to the increase and popularity in the negative media influences targeting this vulnerable population it is hard to discount.

Don't get me wrong I don't want to blame all the problems with teens on the media. I grew up in the 80's listening to the uproar concerning the heavy metal and punk rock of my era. Media has been blamed for teen rebellion since the days of Elvis. I am also a parent of six who has survived the fads and phases of children and teens more than a few times. But, this latest development is one that I have watched with skepticism and caution. Only a few of my children ever watched this type of programming and from what observed I found the result interesting and disturbing. Of those children who did watch I saw more self-esteem issues, more self-image problems, higher levels of emotionalism and a general dissatisfaction with life. I also saw an increase in rebellious acting out and self destructive behavior. In addition, the teen developed an attitude of entitlement counter productive to goal setting, cooperation and gratification delay. In conclusion as a parent and counselor I would suggest parents exercise caution. If you can outlaw your teens watching this type of programming, go for it. However, it may not be worth the battle since many tire of the drama and nonsense on their own but at the very least limit viewing of these type of programs and talk to your teens concerning the negative attitudes and behaviors portrayed

Are you or your children addicted to reality t.v.?

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    • wendi_w profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you, although I don't endorse in helicopter parenting I do believe it is important to Parent. We are not supposed to be our kids friends we are to provide guidance and boundaries. As they get older you do need to take a step back though and hope you did a good job. Every one of my teens rebelled somewhat, but eventually they all came around.

    • profile image

      Modern sid n nancy 

      6 years ago

      Fuck yeah! I wish my gramma would understand that she cuts on my bf and me cuz we dress like punk kids in the 80s and we dont do drugs or chill with people much because that is exactly how most people are: idiotic stuck up junkies! god damn i wish people would listen to people like us! *im only 21 but i wont listen to music that came out past 1999 besides afi. Oldies metal and punk kid for life* keep tellin those idiot soccer mom conformist dumbasses whats legit !!!!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Blessings Wendi_W!

      Thank you so much for the clarifications and personal insights! With 26 years in the parenting field, I knew you had a better handle on these destructive issues!

      I don't know what the answer is! We cannot give our children's bodies to fast food and their minds to the television! Alas, it's the food at their friend's homes and the Internet that also permeates their days!

      I would have been a Tiger Mom! There was so much flack against the author for drawing really strict lines in the sand for her two daughters!

      I applaud the Tiger Mom in her really unpopular choices! This of course is assuming her daughters will turn out to be wonderful, well-adjusted human beings!

      Blessings to you for this wonderful Hub! Earth Angel!

    • wendi_w profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest

      Thank Earth Angel. Yes the question is rhetorical The hub came as an inspiration from a class I am taking on adolescent issues. So many people claim teen issues today are caused by parenting, school bullying, music but it occurred to me there is a huge difference in my three older children attitudes toward life in general. One of those children were addicted to the teen reality shows like The Real World the others not. She is still somewhat that way years later. Of any of my children she has more problems with destructive mindsets. She is more dramatic, more crisis driven, more apt to lapse into self pity. She also has an underlying attitude that life owes her and that it is just supposed to be simple and fun all the time. This is not my only daughter by the way so it is not a male female thing.. My other daughter has never watched those shows and I see a total difference in her attitudes toward life not completely explained away by their different personalities.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Blessings to you Wendi_W!

      Great Hub! Thank you for sharing!

      You are asking a rhetorical question, right?

      We all know that being exposed to too much violence at a young age (and older for that matter) is bad for the brain and produces distorted views of violence and the consequences!

      We all know that being exposed to and eating too much fast food at a young age (and older for that matter as well) is bad for the body (and the brain) and distorts taste buds, physiological chemistry and cravings!

      What ever we are exposed to repeatedly becomes acceptable, even desirable!

      I think parents are just being worn down by their kids who are now products of media, commercials, social networking and have become HUGE consumers of everything they can get their hands on!

      My answer would be a resounding YES! "Jersey Shores" and 90% of what is on television today is harmful to kids!

      Being a good parent is not "going with the flow!" It's drawing a line in the sand!

      Blessings for bringing up a great topic! Earth Angel!


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