ms That Help Our YouthOne Friday afternoon I was sitting in the crowded lobby of my doctor’s office, waiting to becalled in to be seen. Sneezes, coughs, and children’s conversations could be heard throughout theoffice. The young girl sitting next to me, who I assumed was about 15 years old, was veryimpatient as to waiting to be called in by a nurse. She kindly asked me what time it was and that’swhen our conversation sparked. I learned that her name was Ashley and that she was 17 yearsold. When Ashley was only 4 years old her father walked out of her and her mother’s life.
Eversince then things have been unstable in her life. Later when she was 10 years old her motherre-married the man who is now her “mean” step father. She claims that most of the problemsarose when her step father’s job required the family to relocate from Sacramento, California to theRio Grande Valley.
She was required to move schools and make new friends. Unfortunately these new friends were not at all the best influence on her and peer pressurepressed forward. In Junior High she and her friends were known as the trouble makers, the groupof boys and girls who just went to school to make fun of the other students. She claims that thesethree years were the hardest for her. Her younger half-brother was always sick and required a lotof attention from her mother therefore her mother wasn’t always available to her when she neededadvice. At the age of 13 began to be involved in drugs, she said that her first incident withcocaine nearly sent her to the grave. Ashley didn’t learn by that incident, she kept on using drugsand over time built up to the stronger ones.
It wasn’t long after the cocaine incident that shebecame involved with boys. It wasn’t until the last time she was hospitalized for drug abuse thatshe realized she should stop. Ashley said that without the help of positive television and goodfriends she wouldn’t have been able to get out of her situation.Ashley’s experience is similar to thousands in our country, where a troubled teen is helpedby exemplary television programming. Television programs aimed at young people help thiscountry’s youth deal with the problems of growing up. Growing up in today’s fast moving society can be tough for teenagers who seem toencounter problems frequently than the rest. At times a teenager feels isolated when confrontedwith the problems of life.
Many times when isolation occurs the teenager will feel as and anoutcast and become unwilling to seek help. Our youth’s problems originate in various places andsituations. Just like all people are different their problems are different. Many of our country’s problems originate in the home within the family.
At times ateenager might think that everything is going just great, but then out of nowhere tragedy occurs. Divorce. Everyday the divorce rate is climbing up the statistics chart faster and faster. Divorcealleviates many marital problems but can also intensify a teenagers problems.
Many young onessuffer the traumatic consequences of their parents divorce. These consequences can cause life jeopardizing situations in which a teenager will notknow how to respond. I’ve seen my cousin, Sara’s life go in opposite directions after herparent’s bitter divorce.
After the divorce her mother, who had legal custody began to pursuedating as a regular routine and gave less and less attention to her children. Sara began to feelalone and after a while joined in a local gang to make her feel accepted. Ever since the divorceOther problems can occur within a household such as having to deal with alcohol abuse Alcoholism is not defined as drinking moderately, but it is a serious disorder where a person usesalcohol to hide their problems. Alcoholism only makes it harder on the family. At times thefamily will have to cope with physical abuse, mental and sexual abuse. I have heard of many caseswhere a drunken father will come home from a bar and physically beat his wife and children.
Children who witness this kind of abuse will grow up to think that abuse is normal and that it canbe tolerated. Therefore when they grow up they will more than likely have abusive partners or beSince alcoholism affects not only the abuser but also his children, the pressures of analcoholic parent and school could cause serious obstacles. Many times I have seen parentspressuring their children to be, “perfect”. These parents demand a full list of activities which theirchild must attend and not to mention to get the highest rank of all their class. At times thesestudents can not take anymore pressuring and will rebel.
I knew a boy in high school who’smother forced him to be in sports, be a straight A student, and to participate in a various amountof clubs and organizations. All this pressure led for him to rebel against his mother and rebelThe pressures of good grades, other students and teachers appears unbearable to theteen-ager and consequently he give’s in to misleading students. Peer-pressure, one of the hardestobstacles to overcome occurs when a student is tempted and does what he doesn’t want to do.But because teen-ager’s know what tactics to use when persuading someone to give in, thehelpless youth is easily reeled in like fish reeled in with live bait.Along with peer-pressure I think of gangs and the influence they have among the otherstudents. Gangs have a great amount of power with them.
They know just the right thestrategies to get teenagers to do what they say. Whether if it is to leave someone’s girlfriendalone or if it to convince someone to join their gang. Gangs and the peer pressure brought on bygangs is a huge problem that our society’s teenagers face. The rate of gang membership increasesby hundreds every week. Teenagers are being brainwashed and pressured into joining gangs. New members will more than likely have to be brutally beat to be apart of a gang.
A processcalled initiation, where the new member will suffer punches and kicks. In certain gangs entrancemembership depends on the number of felonies committed within a certain time. New membersmight have to steal or even commit murder to have entry into a gang. What actually comes with being in a gang is the tough stuff. Peer-pressure is at it’s highwhen everyone in the group is doing it. Peer-pressure is when peers obligate another do as them.
Teenagers will be introduced to drugs in their these gangs. Temptation will then occur and this isthe teenager gets week and gives in.Peer-pressure not only occurs in gangs but is a problemLuckily our society has realized that in order to improve our youth we must have sourceswhere they can turn to in a case of grief. What a better way than through television. Televisionprograms aimed at young people help this country’s youth deal with the problems of growing up. Today’s television programs entertain the youth in a positive way.
Almost fifty milliontelevisions are turned on each evening. Sixty-four percent out of those fifty million are individualsbetween the ages of 12-18. Instead of our teen-agers being out on the streets fighting the streetlife, the majority are staying in and receiving the support they need to conquer there problems.
Television programs enrich personal goals and help them develop moral values. Such things areBefore the television show Oprah, sorrowful circumstances such as divorce or alcoholismwere seldom discussed in public, much less on national television. If someone fell into one thesesituations it was kept a secret from the community and at times from the parents. Afraid of beingan embarrassment to their family the youth frequently would keep it to them selves and not let anyone know of their problems. Secretism only led to ignorance and forced the victims to have toAs a young teenager I was a strong admirer of the television series, “The Baby-Sitter’sClub”. The characters faced the same problems most children and teenagers face. Theseindividuals confronted problems such as divorce and handled them graciously.
They were thepositive examples my generation needed. I clearly remember an episode where one of the character’s was facing my friend Ashley’sproblems. The character and her mother moved across the country after her parents divorce. Soon she found herself isolated.
Isolated from her schoolmates and her mother also. Thecharacter got to the point where drugs became an option to relieve her from her worries. Butfortunately the Baby-Sitter’s Club member’s pulled her out of her problems and lead her towardssuccess. Perhaps Ashley could’ve benefited from a this episode before she got involved with As mentioned before, Oprah, has added guidance and comfort to many teen-agers seekinghelp.
She has aired a significant amount of shows dedicated just for teen-agers. During theseshows she interviews an individual who might have been a victim of gang violence or might havebeen a high school drop-out. Her questions include, “What can the viewers at home do if theyever find themselves in the same type of situation as you were?”. Another television show that deals with real life situations is, M-TV’s The Real World. This series unites six strangers from different parts of the nation, who perhaps come fromdifferent cultures, who are of different religions, and who differentiate in the amount of problemsthey’ve faced. The object of being chosen is to survive in the environment given, living with fivestrangers. This program teaches today’s youth that where ever you go and what ever you do, youwill not always get along with the people you work with.
In the show conflicts are not alwayshandled with care, the characters have to cope with living with someone they just can’t get alongwith. I remember in one episode a young male who was kicked out of the house because of hisradical ideas. This gives our youth a taste of the real world, how it will be in workingenvironment, or living with a roommate. Another strong point is that many positive role models are found through outtelevision. Either highly successful sports figures, singers, actors, and newscasters are fineexamples.
Teen-agers need someone to look up to, someone who hold a common characteristic. Many of televisions role models cast in many commercials. A perfect example of this is thefamous, “Drink Milk” campaign. Where the company hires many teen-idols to advertise theirproduct, the teen-ager purchases it, and the company receives sky-rocketing profits. Every one ishappy. The company receives the feed back they crave, the teen uses the same product just astheir roll model does and the celebrity receives the fame and a check in the mail.
I could list hundreds of wrong things a youngsters could be doing, but I’m sure you’llagree with me that the television industry has definitely grasped the attention of the young mindsand at the same time helped our community to succeed. Now Ashley is 20 years old attending alocal community college. She is living proof that television programming does help today’s youthdeal with the problems encountered while growing up.Personally I give the television industrytwo thumbs up for the fabulous work they have achieved. Our television programming isjam-packed with programs targeted on our youth’s problems.
It helps them understand what theyare going through and lets them know that many teen-agers all over the country are facing the Bibliography: