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Example research essay topic: Placing Blame On The Parents Of Adolescent - 1,846 words

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There are, without a doubt innumerable accounts, whether reported or not, where some aspect of the media has been blamed for the occurrence of some grave adversity. Although previously investigated bombastically, the Columbine shootings continue to be examined since its 1999 occurrence. Any other event could have served just as exemplary as the shootings at Columbine work to do here. It may seem a tired issue to raise at the conception of my thesis, however this event will never lose the enormity it divulged. On April 20, 1999, two students walked nonchalantly into Columbine High School at 11: 15 a. m.

and fired shots from a multi-gun arsenal and lobbed homemade bombs throughout the school. At the end of the rampage, 12 students, one teacher and the gunmen were dead. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the so-called outcast Columbine students who killed a dozen classmates and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves, were tagged as members of the school's goth community and were said to hate jocks, targeting them among their victims. Further fueling speculation, after the two students opened fire on their school, an angered populace quickly pointed fingers of blame at bands such as Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, and KMFDM.

A similar shooting in a Californian high school was blamed on a rather popular band called Linkin Park. Song lyrics, music videos, and television are also blamed for suicides and intense depression. Many stories of students committing acts of suicide while listening to Marilyn Manson, Staind, and other such bands run rampant through the minds of a heavily prejudiced people. The debate over the influence of the media in American culture is one of the hottest topics among policymakers, educators, and prevention professionals. With numerous studies done on the subject, it would seem plausible there is a solid conclusion as to whether or not media causes us to behave in the manner reflected on the screen, in music lyrics or in music videos. However, this is not the case; direct causality seems to elude researchers and academicians.

However, few dispute that media and advertising have some effect on all of us. The question at hand is how much does the media effect youth culture? Most everyone seems quick to point the finger at the media when any quandary arises relating to violence, illicit drug use, antisocial behavior, poor sexual judgement, and various other pressing issues. It is tangible to say, after numerous studies conducted on the media and its direct impact on adolescence, there is yet to be a substantial connection between the two. Looking at the question further, one should not be so hasty to proclaim the media as the culprit when one fact has remained constant throughout the years; parental figures are far more influential on youth culture than the media. The demeanor as well as the fashion in which a child is brought up should not only be taken into consideration, however dissected extensively before accusing far more extrinsic factors.

In this context, extrinsic factors refer to each and every type of media: music lyrics, music videos, television, newspapers, video games, Internet cites, and etcetera's. Parents have always been, and will always be the guiding force behind their childrens behavior, as they are the ones who automatically accepted responsibility immediately upon their childs conception to instill morals and values within their descendants. Family Planning Perspectives has much to say about medias influence on adolescents, The media seldom have been concerned with the outcome of their ubiquitous sexual lessons. Typically, those who own and create communications media have been more concerned with attracting audiences and selling products than they have been in promoting healthy sexuality. Most are driven by profit margins, not social responsibility, and are not in the business of promoting healthy sexuality. If irresponsible sexual behavior attracts audiences, then that is what will be produced (Brown, Keller).

Indeed, most if not all the people behind the media curtain are driven by profit margins. That may be true. But since when did it become the responsibility of the entertainment industry to educate Americas adolescents. The industry is simply doing their job, selling what they know sells. This is where the tables become turned. If the parents would take action and not be so quick to point their finger, it is possible a solution may be unveiled.

Maybe we should look at the parents to blame for once, as it is their responsibility to educate, discipline and guide their children. In an effort to understand the content of American television, the National Television Violence Study rigorously examined more than 10, 000 hours of programming across a variety of channels, cable and non-cable, at all hours of the day in three consecutive years from 1994 - 1997 (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). There was surprising consistency of the data from year to year, with an alarming amount of violence present. It was estimated that young people view 10, 000 acts of violence per year, with sixty-one percent of shows containing violence of some kind. The type of violence and the context was also consistent. There were twenty-six percent of violent interactions involving the use of weapons, thirty-eight percent of violent acts being committed by "attractive perpetrators, " more than fifty percent of violent incidents showing no apparent pain associated with the violence, and almost seventy-five percent of violent acts involving no evident remorse, criticism, or penalty for the violence.

To the contrary, humor accompanied the violence in forty-one of the incidents. The three volumes of the National Television Violence Study concluded the following: 1. Television violence contributes to antisocial effects on viewers. 2. Three primary effects arise from viewing televised violence: a.

Learning of aggressive behaviors and attitudes b. Desensitization to violence c. Fear of being victimized by violence 3. Not all violence poses the same degree of risk of these harmful effects. (Villani). Blaming the media for teen violence is a submissive excuse for unfavorable parenting. By overlooking this rationale, the parents are getting off far too easily.

Although the above figures are undoubtedly alarming, the guiding force behind these children seem to remain dimmed in the background, as if children were born devoid of parents. A parent's responsibility is to be aware of what his or her children are going through. They should recognize any uncharacteristic behavior that could lead to malicious or dubious acts. During the 1970 s and 1980 s, rock music lyrics became more explicit in their references to sex and drugs. The American Academy of Pediatrics revised policy statement in 1996 stated, although there were no studies documenting a cause-and-effect relationship between sexually explicit or violent lyrics and adverse behavioral effects, there is ample evidence given the content to be concerned about desensitization to violence, promotion of sex-role stereotyping, and acceptance of risk-taking behaviors (Villani).

Clearly, as the above studies reportedly prove, there is no definite correlation between the inauspicious demeanor's of any adolescent as the result of listening to their personal musical preference. Even with the continuous lack of connection within these music studies, several experiments continue to be executed looking at whether music preference is associated with adolescent turmoil, and even suicide. Two weighty experiments were performed, resulting with seemingly substantial data to finally declare a negative association. The first look, taken by Weidinger and Demi, was directed at the preference for heavy metal music in disturbed or drug-abusing adolescents in a small sample of 60 adolescents hospitalized on a psychiatric unit.

This was followed by Arnett, who surveyed 248 students in 10 th and 12 th grade in a southern metropolitan area about their musical preferences and reckless behaviors. The reckless behaviors included driving while intoxicated, driving at speeds of greater than eighty miles per hour, drug use, sexual promiscuity, shoplifting, and vandalism. The results demonstrated an association between heavy metal and hard rock as a musical preference and reckless behavior. The author cautioned that the results not be interpreted as causative, but instead that the heavy metal and hard rock music appeals to adolescents who have high levels of sensation-seeking behavior (Villani). This does not all seem to add up quite right. The hypotheses statistically would both suggest a direct connection between recklessness and hard rock and / or heavy metal.

However, dont the Villani's ending remarks seem to contradict her own hypothesis? She seems to be saying we should tell the people to blame the media by means of the numbers, yet when one looks a little closer, maybe it is merely those adolescents who enjoy titillation who enjoy this type of music. Or perhaps, maybe only those types of adolescents were experimented on. Not everything seems to deem exact or even accurate enough to fixate blame in this ongoing debate, where such imprecision has the capability to fabricate such depravity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics aims to withdraw some of the blame piling up on the media in order to steer the accountability in a more appropriate direction, towards the parental figures. To date, no studies have documented a cause-and-effect relationship between sexually explicit or violent lyrics and adverse behavioral effects. A possible explanation for this lack of finding is that teenagers often do not know the lyrics or fully comprehend their meaning. For example, in one study only thirty percent of teenagers knew the lyrics to their favorite songs, and their comprehension varied greatly. Most teenagers tend to interpret their favorite songs as being about love, friendship, growing up, lifes struggles, having fun, cars, religion, and other topics that relate to teenage life.

For this reason, publishing the lyrics separately could be counterproductive. At the same time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) feels that parents should be knowledgeable about the content of their teenagers music. Therefore, the AAP feels that specific, descriptive labeling of music content (i. e. , violence, sex, drugs, and offensive language) would be desirable.

Only one study has examined the impact of parental advisory labels, and it found that teens were not more likely to be attracted simply because of the labeling (Impact of Music Lyrics and Music Videos on Children and Youth). Of all the articles, journals and studies I have researched, the American Academy of Pediatrics seems the most in tune with the authenticity that truly dominates adolescence. Although they do not have highly favorable ideas towards the media, they choose to zoom in a more accurate spot. They make certain these ideas pertain to the parents, as they do, more than any other text I have looked at. In my thesis, I proclaimed the fault lies in the reflection of the parental figures for their childrens disobedient, unruly, or even illicit behavior. In Professor Delaneys course here at the University of Arizona, The Structure of Mind and Behavior, two lectures were devoted to the different types of parenting styles, as well as their effects on children.

The remarks regarding parenting styles from what I gathered from Professor Delaney provide undeniable justification to further my argument imputing the parents, as well as my refutation defending the me...


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