Impacts of the Media on Adolescents’ Decision Making

Impacts of the Media on Adolescents’ Decision Making

Adolescence is characterized by rapid changes in cognitive, physical, and social development, starting with puberty. Major influences that shape adolescents’ world include the websites, magazines, music, film, television, or advertising (Baams et al., 2015).  With the emerging cognitive abilities and independence, adolescence is characterized experimentation of sexual behaviors that may derail their wellbeing and future health. A major influence is the media specifically websites. Furthermore, the media has become a part of the adolescents’ day-to-day lives, and the increasing access to the internet has negatively impacted the younger generation’s sexual decision making.

Adolescents are likely to engage in high risk sexual behaviors and the media has become popular in influencing. According to a report on the prevailing of risky behaviors promoted by the internet, sexual behaviors have been cited as a frequent high-risk behavior. Approximately 40% of websites advocate unprotected sexual behaviors including pornographic contents (Widman et al., 2020). Pornography has been a significant problem caused by technology in which it negatively affects the adolescents such that they try to imitate what they see. Most adolescents tend to participate in sexual behaviors if they believe in what they see on websites. A recent report on the relationship between high-risk sexual behaviors and perception among the youth shows that young people underreport protective behaviors of their peers and over report high sexual behaviors (Baams et al., 2015). This risky behavior has made its way into adolescents’ minds such that those who view sexually suggestive photos are associated with having sex with strangers and without protection. This may lead to severe diseases such as Sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and even unplanned pregnancies among the youth.

Among the major factors associated with the contemporary influences of websites on adolescents sexual decision making is availability of sexual contents on the internet. Most adolescents use websites with sexual contents to make decisions on whether or not they should engage of sexual activities. Some websites encourage teenage sexual activities while others provide guides, and important information on how they should approach these activities. Another factor is the increasing explicitness of sex portrayals in the internet (Widman et al., 2020). Children tend to imitate what they see and the internet offers all contents on how they should approach sexual behaviors. Depending on what adolescents’ view on websites, their approach towards sex will be significantly influenced. Nonetheless, some websites portray sexual intercourse between unmarried adults without providing warnings on issues such as pregnancy, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and contraception. This may significantly affect adolescents can lead to poor decision making.

When it comes to adolescents’ decision making on sexual activities, social workers should advice parents to find ways to monitor the adolescents’ actions to protect them from unproductive contents on the internet. Social workers should work with stakeholders and network providers should develop an effective strategy of filtering information that reaches the youth on websites (Baams et al., 2015). This will help minimize materials and pornographic materials from reaching the young people. They can also advice adolescents on effects of unprotected sexual behaviors to avoid severe mental and health problems in the future.
























Widman, L., Kamke, K., Evans, R., Stewart, J. L., Choukas-Bradley, S., & Golin, C. E. (2020). Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a brief online sexual health program for adolescents. The Journal of Sex Research57(2), 145-154.

Baams, L., Dubas, J. S., Overbeek, G., & Aken, M. A. (2015). Transitions in Body and Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Study on the Relationship Between Pubertal Development and Adolescent Sexual Behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(6), 586-598. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.11.019




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