Negative Effects of Media and Pop Culture

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For years, pop culture and its influence on youth and society has been debated. The overexposure of pop culture, the media, and even music has caused an effect of negative trends that have seemed to take control on modern youth and society. It’s an issue that many people have seemed to overlook, whether on purpose or not. Some may say pop culture has no effect on youth and it’s only on how they can handle it. While that may be true, recent evidence suggests a new side to that theory.

Pop culture has become more of a synthetic culture over the years. Popular culture is no longer an expression of shared experiences of real people like it was before.

“We are unwittingly influenced by the messages that underlie the popular entertainment and which form the basis of synth culture,” author Jim Taylor writes in the Psychology Today article, “Popular Culture: We are What We Consume.” (Dec. 8, 2009)

Lawmakers, parent advocates, educators, and others believe that pop culture has been more focused on laughing at other people’s misfortunes, loss and an overexposure to greed. There seems to be nothing popular about pop culture anymore.

“90% of what is considered popular culture is churned out by corporations with the sole purpose that we be converted into voracious consumers,” commentator Terry S. explained in Taylor’s article.

Corporations have manipulated pop culture as a way to make money rather than as an advancement of our actual culture. It is no longer an expression of shared experiences of real people; therefore, it has lost the soul and meaning it once had.

While pop culture has changed society, some argue that media influences have had a bigger, if not more of a negative impact, on society and youth.

“Some researchers have demonstrated that very young children will imitate aggressive acts on TV in their play with peers. Before the age of 4 they are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy, and may view violence as an ordinary occurrence,” Dr. Eugene Beresin wrote in an article to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (

Another act of media corruption is through celebrity influences and media expectations of perfection and acceptance.

“We live in a world that celebrates image over substance and because of this, we have lost sight of who we are. Through the corporate mass media, we are subliminally told what to think, how to interpret the way society operates, what is ‘right,’ what is ‘cool,’ and how to keep from looking old and unhip,” writer Chris Renzo reports in his Waking Times article, “How Celebrity Culture is Destroying Who We Are.” (Sept. 15, 2012)

Another factor influencing youth behavior is reflected in the lyrics and videos of specific music genres.

“Lyrics of some music genres, such as rock, heavy metal, rap and new emerging genres such as reggaeton have been found to revolve around topics such as sexual promiscuity, death,  homicide, suicide and substance abuse. Some rap music has been characterized by the present of explicit sexual language as well as messages of violence, racism, homophobia, and hatred toward women,” Dr. Rosario deRivas writes in his article, “Impact of Music, Music Lyrics, and Music Videos on Children and Youth.” (Pediatrics, Nov. 2009)

Some may argue that it’s more how the person perceives the subject in the music than what the artist is trying to say with their music. Adolescent preference has a major effect, too. It’s how people react to it that could lead into a problem.

“As with popular music the perception and effect of the music video messages are important because research has reported that exposure to violence, sexual messages, sexual stereotypes and use of substance abuse in music videos might produce significant changes in behavior and attitudes of young viewers,” Dr. deRivas writes.

Due to the recent events of modern society,  pop culture and the media have had a big impact on the negativity of today.  Some people believe that pop culture has no effect on society; however, due to research and news reports it has shown a strong possibility that media has affected us more negatively than we would like to believe.