When most artist write music and release it to radio stations, they want people to hear their story, and become a part of the struggle. So many people in today’s society can relate to the issues surrounding these artists because they are encouraged to do so. Young people looking at these videos are mesmerized. They see young entrepreneurs in the videos surrounded by fast money, cars, other expensive material objects such as jewelry and beautiful women. It is assumed by these young consumers that these artists obtained the money that they have by doing illegal, sometimes violent acts.
Young adults and children look up to these people as role models, and in some way, these young people rationalize what their ‘idol’ is doing as right. MTV, VH1, and BET bring music videos into most American homes, and it is concluded through a comprehensive analysis of music videos that nearly one-fourth of all MTV videos portray overt violence and depict individuals carrying weapons (Muscari). Often, children may not be able to understand the lyrical value of the song, but they will certainly remember the violent images portrayed in music videos accompanying the song.
Music videos are also one of the factors that are causing teenagers to grow up too fast. Females are encouraged to enhance their physical features, drawing attention to inappropriate areas of the body, and they are also more likely to wear make-up and seek a more mature look. This is evident in any genre of music that is geared towards the youth. Artists such as Miley Cyrus, Lil’ Wayne, Jessie James, T. I. , Taylor Swift and Ludacris take different approaches on sexing up their music videos.
When teenagers, in particular teenage girls, see these images in music videos, the same notion comes into their heads; they think that if they look and dress a certain way, they will attract attention, popularity, and possibly get the guy that they want or maybe even the artist that is starring in that video. This sexual exposure could be as little as a midriff top or a bare, manly chest in a pop video to shirt-popping cleavage and minimal clothing in a hip-hop video. This sexual exposure could also lead to violence among teenage girls.
The motivation and thought of competition among young females, along with the possibility of jealousy and hate could lead to increase violence in schools and communities. This could also be a problem among males, too. Along with females competing, male students could also get the urge for the female students and is one of the most common reasons to promote violence in schools. Along with the sexy women running around going hand-in-hand comes the money, cars, and clothes, repeating the cycle of youth sexual and violent behavior. When people listen to their favorite music, whatever it maybe, over and over again, it gets embedded in their minds.
A study actually negates the belief that music and music videos causes behavioral issues in young people: Although research has found a correlation between preference for heavy metal or rap music and behavioral problems, drug or alcohol use, arrests and sexual promiscuity, these behavioral problems usually begin before students begin listening to rap or heavy metal, which indicates that the music does not cause behavioral problems or addiction (Copely) Some believe that the behavior is already there, music has no immediate role in these actions.
This may be true, but some teens do actually believe the hype and play on what they hear on the radio, or see on television. Music can be innocent or have subliminal messaging, which may cause the listener of the music to act a certain way after a listening session. Sometimes, music can affect the mood of a person. A very uptempo song can cause the body to have a response that excites the listener, and encourages negative behavior; a smooth mellow song can cause the body to have a relaxed response, encouraging peaceful or even sexual actions.
These messages free the listener to lose all of his or her inhibitions and participate in acts that he or she may have done, or would have waited until they were a more mature age to participate in. “The combination of music and images is more potent than either alone,” Rich points out. “Music lulls and dis inhibits, making it easy to suspend reality. The barrage of brief scenes allows images of violence and sex to be mixed in far more insidious ways than in a narrative drama,” such as the “soaps” or sitcoms (Cromie). Without music videos accompanying the music, it would be hard to argue the effect violence in music has on the young mind.
The media also contributes to the violent behavior of youth, whether it is on TV or the promotion of video games. Theorists argue that violence in the media’s influence can lead to an increase in violent behavior in youth. Youth violence is a serious issue, and there are many things that contribute to youth violence. It is difficult to put a finger on just one single factor that contributes to youth violence. One fact is that if a child grows up in an unhealthy household that he or she will be more likely to grow up to be a violent person.
Another fact that is linked to violent behavior is if the child grows up in a tough neighborhood. The list of contributing factors to violent behavior in our youths is never ending. One thing society should remember though is that not just one single factor can be linked to youth violence. It is the combinations of these variables that make our youth have the tendency to be more violent. According to Adults and Children Together against Violence (“Media Violence and Children at Home”), TV can lead to aggressive behavior, terrify children, and show violence is ok.
Also, TV involves less use of imagination, less direct contact with other persons, and less pretend play. In video games, it can contribute to “fight” or “flight”, the body’s response to perceived threat or danger. It releases hormones like adrenaline, speeds the heart rate, slows digestion, stops blood flow to major muscle groups, changes other nervous functions, and ultimately gives the body a burst of energy and strength (“Fight-Or-Flight Response”). Video games also causes emotional shutdown and no high level of thinking. The news can also contribute to losing sense of safety and losing sense of emotional and social well being.
American teenagers are exposed to a lot of violence, not limited to those in big cities. “Seventy three percent of students aged twelve to seventeen say that violence is a crime, and is a major problem confronting teenagers. ” (Orr 133) Crime is an issue that needs to be address in urban areas because it is increasingly problematic for the youthful society. Crimes are mostly under reported, and sometimes a crime may be overlooked as just an accident. It is also important to make sure that the media is accurately reporting criminal activity.
This exposure to violence is in the mass media, and needs to be limited to prevent the coordinated actions that are being induced by the nature it proposes. Bullying is also a problem in schools, along with mimicking acts seen in the media. Bullying is not just the television portrayed role of stealing ones lunch money, it is a serious manner that needs to be defined and addressed. Both bullying and being bullied at school are associated with key violent-related behaviors, including carrying weapons, fighting, and sustaining injuries from fighting (“Indicator 11: Bullying at School”).
Bulling is a form of abuse that can be physical and mental, and is usually carried out from someone seeking power. More examples of bullying include being made fun of; subject to rumors; threatened with harm; pushed, shoved, tripped or spit on, pressured into doing things did not want to do, excluded; or property destroyed on purpose. A survey found that bullying continues to be a problem, especially in middle schools; about fourteen percent of the sixth graders reported being bullied, compared with about nine percent of ninth graders and two percent of twelfth graders (“Indicator 11: Bullying at School”).
Cyber bullying, the anonymous taunting and communication of hostile language, has prevailed since social networking has become popular,. According to the Charlotte Observer, Congress is considering a federal law that makes “cyber bullying” a crime. A familiar case of cyber bullying would be the story of Megan Tyler Meier, a thirteen year old who committed suicide as a result of being taunted by a guy named Josh, later to be learned that the profile was fake, on MySpace.
Just a year before entering high school, the issue of crime met this young girl, and her fate was met. She already suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder (ADD), yet the heartbreaking insults she received from MySpace bulletins calling her a “slut” and a “fat ass” contributed to her suicide (Meier). Cyber bullying is a discreet way of controlling and insulting others through websites alike MySpace; the anonymity of the situation makes the bullying easier to achieve. In high schools, the issue of bullying is just as harsh.
If a teen does not dress a certain way, talk a certain way, or hang with the right group of people, they are likely targets of bullying. Parents should participate in school activities, so that they are aware of possible school violence. When teens get to high school, parents usually step out of the picture. The string parents had attached to their child, if any, that controlled the behavior and actions of that child is usually cut or seemingly nonexistent. Family is the key to upholding social bonds, and if this is missing, that teen is usually more affected by his or her peer group.