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Is MTV Channel Being a Good Influence on Teens?

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“What’s your favorite TV show?” asked my English teacher from my junior year at high school. Many students replied with Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. She was not happy to hear these shows. She believed MTV and these shows were corrupting kids today. MTV is my favorite channel along with VH1 but people think it glamorizes some certain things that would have been considered immoral or inappropriate to show kids in the earlier times. I think MTV is teaching us about life that we’re going to need to know about at some point in our future.

For example, Teen Mom contains sixteen year old girls struggling with raising a baby and keeping their relationship with the father. Back in the day, pregnant teens would be ashamed and afraid to admit their new problem. They would consider abortion or giving away their baby. Rarely would these kids keep their baby since their parents would not allow them to. They cecertainlywouldn’t turn to media and proudly announce their pregnancy. That is exactly what kids today are doing, however. MTV’s goal was to show teens how hard it would be to raise a baby at the most critical time in their life as a high school student about to go to college. I praise them for making young people aware of this problem but is it also showing girls that it is okay to get pregnant because you will gain fame and money? It was thought Teen Mom would decrease the percentage of teen pregnancy and it did, according to James Dinh. He wrote an article titled, MTV’S ‘16 And Pregnant’ Credited For Decline in Teen Pregnancy Rates”. Dinh has stated that “U.S. teen birthrates plunged dramatically in 2009 after a five percent increase from 2005 to 2007.” It is not for sure Teen Mom was the cause of the change but it may have helped! My friends and I call this show our “birth control”. We see the struggles of these teen moms and we are so thankful that we do not have these problems on top of college. They do a good job capturing the negatives of having a child at a young age. At the end of each episode, they will give you more information on how to be safe. They will also give you numbers for any problems such as spousal abuse and suicidal thoughts. They are furthering our knowledge about teen pregnancy and helping us make better choices.

Real World is a reality show that follows eight random young people chosen to live in the same house together. They can be seen fighting with each other or partying with each other. These people are usually 18 years and older. This show always include many people of different race, religion, and sexuality. In the most recent season of Real World: San Diego, they contain two homosexuals and two heterosexuals that are not familiar with associating with gay people. The two heterosexual people are teaching us that it is okay to be friends with gay people. They are just like us but they just have a different sexuality. Also, the homosexuals are showing us what it is like to live their life. They are letting us see what kind of problems they deal with because of their sexuality. It makes us realize that they are just people and they have feelings too. I have heard from my family that they do not like this show because the people are too wild and cuss too much. They have horrible behavior and leave a bad impression on other people of what young people in the U.S. are like. These people are just living their lives and we can learn from their mistakes. We can also learn how to get along with other people and form a wonderful bond for life.

Finally, Jersey Shore premiered in 2009 and became a cultural phenomenon. It is kind of similar to Real World but it only includes “guidos” and “guidettes”. It follows the lives of eight roommates spending their summer at the Jersey Shore, in Miami and Italy. They introduced new words such as “grenades” and “GTL” which means gym, tan, and laundry. They’re showing us what the lives of the new evolution of Italian-American people looks like. According to Wikipedia, Jersey Shore has been dubbed as the Seinfeld of 2010. Jersey Shore is my guilty pleasure. It is hilarious and extremely dramatic at times. I know lots of people that watch this show. As great this show might be, there are negative sides. This show is encouraging boys to treat girls in a certain derogatory ways, such as calling them “grenades”, having one night stands and never talking to those girls again. Is it showing men today that it is how we should treat women? Men have always been like this even before the show came out. It was not meant to teach us anything else other than just letting us know that these type of people exist. I believe this show is preparing us for the real world. They’re letting us know that there are many different types of people out there with different values and opinions.

MTV is a channel that many teenagers watch. Adults may not like it but I believe it teaches us many things about life that we may not be able to learn by ourselves. We are old enough to make mistakes and learn from the people on these shows. Isn’t that growing up is all about?





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