Ever wondered how media impacts youth and children and whether prolonged exposure to certain elements might have a lasting effect? The Cabin Chiang Mai defines the term ‘media’, outlines its various forms, and explores the positive and negative effects on teens and pre-teens.

How Media Impacts Youth and Children

All over the world, parents and carers, teachers and medical professionals are expressing concern about how media impacts youth and children. They worry about the long-term effects of continuous or extreme exposure and wonder what action, if any, to take. It can be difficult to recognise when children are at risk because adults tend to use media in a very different way to children.

The most striking differences between media use in adults and children are invariably linked to maturity and development. Adults have a level of maturity that enables them to make more informed choices or to recognise the positive and negative aspects of on-screen or online content. Impressionable youngsters can develop behaviour patterns based on what they hear, see and read. Overexposure can have a detrimental effect on diet, social interaction, sexuality and emotional development. In some cases, media use can also lead to various process addictions such as addiction to social networking, gaming or gambling.

If you’re worried about how media impacts a child close to you or are concerned about your own ability to cope, it’s best to seek professional help. The Cabin Chiang Mai offers treatment for all types of addiction and combines personalised, age-appropriate methods with tried and trusted techniques.

How do We Define “Media”?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines media as, “The main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively”. In this context, we would expect media to include:

  • Television
  • Books and magazines
  • Internet
  • Computers, tablets and smartphones

As technology has advanced, each of these has become inextricably linked. For example, the introduction of smartphones and smart TVs has allowed content from each form of media to be accessible through most devices. That means that internet content like YouTube can be viewed on television while TV content is easily accessible with a smartphone or tablet. Books, magazines and other publications are also freely available online.

What Are the Real Effects of Media on Children and Young Adults?

During their formative years, children develop the behaviour patterns, values and attitudes that will shape their lives. Often, those values are tied to how frequently children view certain types of media productions and what they learn or understand from them. Concerns over how media impacts youth and children stem from how much exposure kids have and the type of content.

Educational media content and age-appropriate entertainment can be positive for children and their families, provided that they don’t replace homework or healthy activities. On the other hand, overexposure can have a detrimental effect on numerous areas of a child or young person’s life including:

Diet

Prolonged media use can lead to kids grabbing quick and often unhealthy snacks in place of regular, nutritious meals. Good nutrition is vital for growth and development and the problem is compounded by media advertisements for calorie-laden fast food or sugary drinks.

Social Skills

When young adults or children spend too much time using various forms of media, they miss out on regular activities like seeing friends, sports, school events and family life. As a result, their ability to function well in social settings can diminish rapidly.

Sexuality

Sex between unmarried partners is 24 times more likely to feature on media sites than sex between married couples. Exposure to sexual violence and deviance is often a feature of music videos, films and games and this affects the way that kids see sex and influences how they might behave in future.

Attitudes, Values and Behaviour

Unfortunately, the attitudes that kids see on media sites are often adopted in real life. A recent study noted that the average North American child sees 12,000 incidences of violence on television each year, for example. Media violence often leads to kids acting violently themselves or seeing violence as an acceptable form of behaviour.

Too much media time also exposes kids to racism, sexism, brutality and other deviant behaviours. Alcohol and drug abuse are featured in films, popular series, music videos, video games and thousands of websites. When these behaviours and values are portrayed as ‘acceptable’ there is a real danger of kids taking them on board. The immature brain soon becomes ‘immune’ and kids begin to accept potentially addictive behaviours including drinking, gaming or gambling as somehow ‘cool’ and attractive.

Help for Those with Concerns Over How Media Impacts Youth and Children

It’s possible that the negative effects of media has taken its toll on you or your family. This is nothing unusual and many have already reached out for help to control their media use instead of being controlled by.

The Cabin Chiang Mai offers a range of specialised treatment programmes for media related process addictions such as internet addiction, gambling addiction and porn addiction.

We also offer a specially developed programme at The Edge for young men who are struggling with substance abuse, behaviour issues or process addictions like gaming addiction. The Edge combines tried and tested methods with features such as:

  • One-on-one and group therapy with certified professionals
  • Intensive physical instruction and practice in either triathlon training or Muay Thai boxing
  • The development of communication skills, tenacity and teamwork through wilderness excursions
  • Developing a sense of social responsibility through community service

Contact us at any time for more information to learn more about the variety of options available to you and what course of action could be the best option for your particular circumstances.

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