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The Effects of Media on Teens’ Sexual Behavior

Everyday we are bombarded with various media channels like TV, radio, social media and the internet. With our day-to-day exposure to media, studies have been made how this has affected our lives. Based on many researches and studies have seen that the most vulnerable to the effects and impacts of media are the children and the teens. With the proliferation of technology, children and teens have turned to television and the internet, especially the social media, as a form of entertainment. Media has badly influenced the teens today to behave in a certain way and sadly, due to some sexual messages brought across channels, teens are behaving more openly, liberally and aggressively. Studies have seen that teens have acquired a certain behavior when exposed to too much media. Media representations of sexuality have greatly influenced teen sexual behavior in different parts of the world. According to Gruber and Grube, many researchers have studied the growing prevalence of sexual representations in TV programs, as well as the relationships between the viewing patterns of teens and their sexual activities (Gruber, E. & Grube, Joel, Adolescent sexuality and the media: A review of current knowledge and implications, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). In the light of this issue, researchers have different views on the role of media and the sexual behavior of teens, especially on the issue of sexual and reproductive health. Some respectable institutions like the American Academy of Pediatrics, have expressed their beliefs that indeed media representations can influence teens to some certain unexpected and uncalled sexual behaviors. But some scholars thought that it may be premature to think that media is a highly influential factor in these sexual behaviors. They say that maybe there are other factors than media itself. However, a few studies have been presented by various researchers and scholars that seem to prove that television, music, the internet and all other forms of media entertainment cam influence sexual attitudes and behaviors of youngsters. According to Cristina Grant, a study among 75 adolescent girls, one-half of whom were pregnant, proved that the pregnant teens watched more soap operas before becoming pregnant. These teens also thought that their favorite soap opera characters would use birth control. Grant also said that in another survey of 391 youth, it was found out that teens, who were exposed to TV programs which are high in sexual content, were more likely to have sexual intercourse than those who viewed only low sexual content. (Grant, C., Teens, sex and the media, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Meanwhile, the United States National Surveys of Children revealed that teenage boys who are exposed to hours and hours of television had the highest prevalence of sexual intercourse. Based on this data, it was also found out that youngsters, who watched television alone had a high increase in self-reported sexual activity compared to those who watched with their families (Grant, C., Teens, sex and the media, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Thus, it is not premature to conclude that teens exposed to sexual messages on various media channels will behave more aggressively in terms of sexual relationships because studies have shown and proven certain teen behaviors that lead to media influence. In 2001, a report found out that teens only ranked media as second only to school sex education programs as a leading source of information. However, based on reports teens are turning to media in learning sex education. Adolescents are one of the largest consumers of mass media; existing research shows they are exposed to mass media for about eight hours a day (Temple University, For teens, early sex and media exposure not linked, analysis finds, sciencedaily.com). In various analyses of broadcast media content, it was revealed that teenagers see about 143 incidents of sexual behavior on network television at prime time each week. These TV shows indicate that they portray three to four times as many sexual activities occurring between unmarried partners. The studies also emphasized that about 80% of all movies on network or cable television stations bring across sexual messages. Meanwhile, music videos were also found out to indicate 60% portray sexual feelings and impulses, while the remaining smaller percentage showed provocative clothing and sexually suggestive body gestures. Media content on TV are also found out to contain sexual messages that were always presented in a positive light. Many of these content only have minimal discussion of the potential risks of unprotected sexual intercourse and its consequences (Gruber, E. & Grube, Joel, Adolescent sexuality and the media: A review of current knowledge and implications, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). In Canada, television has become a leading sex educator. It was found out that between 1976 and 1996, there has been a 270% increase in sexual interactions during the family hour of 2000 hours to 2100 hours. TV shows have shown 24 times more sexual activities between unmarried partners than sex between married couples. These shows also rarely mentioned topics on sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. Temple University said that television exposes children to adult sexual behaviours. These shows send message to teens that sexual actions portrayed in televisions are normal and pose no risks to them. Many of the teens who watch these TV shows think that because these behaviours are frequent and always seen on TV, it becomes natural and they think that everybody does it. (Paediatrics and Child Health, Impact of media use on children and youth, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Meanwhile, the Internet is also an unregulated media source that is rampant with sexual images and sexually explicit content. According to Grant, in an American study of teens using computers, it was found out that 61% of the respondents always “surf the net” and 14% of them reported “seeing something they wouldn’t want their parents to know about” (Grant, C., Teens, sex and the media, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). With social media and the internet becoming readily accessible among youngsters, sexual messages have proliferated rampantly and it seems that there are lapses in regulation of sexual messages relayed on these channels. Teens can just download games, applications, movies and video clips containing sexual messages anytime. Meanwhile, studies also point that music and lyrics with sexual connotations also influenced teens’ sexual behavior. In a study entitled “Sexy Media Matters: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines, Predicts Black and White Adolescent Sexual Behavior' which conducted by Jane Brown, chief researcher and a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Bloomberg in 2006 with her colleagues, they analyzed 170 songs and discovered that 40% of the lyrics contained sexual content. Brown said that movies and music, especially rap, were the most powerful influences on teens’ sexual behavior. The other media, magazines and television, had about 11% sexual content, Brown said. Brown, together with the other researchers interviewed 1,017 black and white adolescents from 14 middle schools in central North Carolina. The study meant to evaluate these teens during ages 12 to 14 years. They were re-evaluated two years later. The study also revealed that white adolescents in the U.S. spent an average of five to six hours a day on various media channels that portrayed frequent, glamorized and consequence-free sexual activity. The research also showed that black teens spent even more time on various media channels (Kerchaval, N., Teen Exposure to Sex in Media Leads to Intercourse, Study Says. bloomberg.com). According to Gruber and Grube, teens may be exposed to sexual content in the media during a developmental period when gender roles, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors are being shaped. They said that teenagers are vulnerable because their cognitive skills on analysing messages and making good decisions are not yet fully developed. (Gruber, E. & Grube, Joel, Adolescent sexuality and the media: A review of current knowledge and implications, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Thus, adolescents are very vulnerable and are easily influenced by messages that they watch, listen and read on various media channels. With the studies presented, it is indeed alarming to realize that media had influenced teens around the world to behave in certain sexual ways. The influence of media had taken a wider range, especially nowadays with the onslaught of various social media channels. Teens need proper guidance in media exposure and the first one to guide them must be the parents and family members. Based on various studies and researches, it can be concluded that indeed the media plays a vital role in changing the behavior of children and teens. With its potent and powerful influence on the behavior, attitude and outlook of teenagers, it is only appropriate that we explore ways to divert their focus on too much TV shows that display sexual content. Media is not bad. In fact, media is a very useful venue for kids to learn values and morals that can mold them to become good citizens. In many ways, media can be very destructive, especially if kids are watching, listening and reading too much of materials that are not appropriate for their age. Thus, proper guidance and sound pieces of advice are the answers to this media hype. Home and family should be the first ground for guidance, supervision and discipline. Parents have a great responsibility in discussing to their children the role of media in their lives. They should be able to give their children a proper discussion about the consequences of too much media consumption. This way, the kids will learn their limitations and they will be able to decipher the positive and negative influences that they can get from media. Parents can set good rules at home, like limit TV and internet hours among their children. Parents should also take time to be with their children so that they can fully guide them in their media exposure and choices. Parents should also make their children realize that there are more ways to be productive than being exposed to TV and the internet. Let us make our children realize that media is not everything. Let us give them opportunities to grow in other ways like taking up sports and other hobbies such as playing the guitar, reading novels and books, and interacting with friends and family. Works Cited Grant, C. “Teens, sex and the media.” Paediatrics and Child Health 8.5 (2003): 285-286. 29 Sept. 2013 < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792686/> Gruber, E. & Grube, J. “Adolescent sexuality and the media: A review of current knowledge and implications.” Western Journal of Medicine 172.3 (2000): 210-214. 29 Sept. 2013 < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1070813/#ref1> Kervechal, N. Teen Exposure to Sex in Media Leads to Intercourse, Study Says. 3 April 2006. 29 Sept. 2013. Paediatrics and Child Health. “Impact of media use on children and youth” 8.5 (2003): 301–306. 29 Sept. 2013 < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792691/> Temple University, “For teens, early sex and media exposure not linked, analysis finds.” ScienceDaily, 19 August 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.


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Elements of Film Design

Mise-en-scene or the design aspects of a film is crucial in bringing across the message of the movie to its viewers. The French term, which means “placing on a stage” pertains to the various elements that appear before the camera and what the viewers can visually decipher within a frame or scene. It includes the setting, composition, movement of actors and objects, lighting, costumes, props and makeup. Mise-en-scene must successfully express the film’s vision to its audience by setting the mood, depicting time and era, and suggesting the state of mind of the characters. Mise-en-scene has various aspects like setting, lighting, and costume. Setting of the film suggests the place and the mood. Lighting is the provision of illumination in a particular scene. Costume is the entire wardrobe of the actors in the film and it works to suggest the personality and status of characters. Costumes of actors also include makeup (College Film and Media Studies, n.d.). One of the greatest classical musicals that had been created by cinema geniuses is the 1939 film Wizard of Oz. It is an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” It is the story of a girl named Dorothy Gale from Kansa who landed in the world of Oz in Munchkin Land. In this fantasy world, she meets different creatures and her wonderful adventure began. The Wizard of Oz was shot in different settings. The movie started with a setting in Kansas, in a farmhouse where Dorothy lived. The farmhouse is located in the middle of a sweeping prairie. The setting of Dorothy’s adventures was located in the world of the wizard of oz in the Munchkin Land. One of the unforgettable settings in the movie was shot in a scene where Dorothy travels to Emerald City through the memorable yellow brick road. Along the way, Dorothy met the different characters who will from part of the story’s fantasy theme. The movie depicted the 1900s era. This era in the United States was described as the progressive era where nation saw the boom of growing cities and small businesses. It was a period of peace, progress and prosperity. However, the filming of the Wizard of Oz was a period after the Great Depression, a period of worldwide economic depression. It was the period where unemployment in the United States was at its peak and countries across the globe were also affected The Wizard of Oz was a movie of hope and optimism in an era of despair and anguish. The colourful bursts of scenes and the values of hope, courage and bravery as depicted in the various characters were noticeable. And this perhaps, why the movie became very popular and until today, is a classic movie that touches every heart and soul. It has strong cultural and emotional messages that transcends through time. According to the Library of Congress, the Wizard of Oz is the most watched film ever. It is timeless and appealing due to the insights that the movie had created. Salman Rushdie, the famous writer said that the movie “was successful because it embodies some of our most enduring values” (Foster and Shrira, 2010). The movie showed the culture of the forces of good and evil. It highlighted the values of goodness as the most powerful weapon in life. This was the culture that the movie wished to bring across its audience and it was effective in its delivery through its mise-en-scene. The Wizard of Oz was directed by Victor Fleming. Malcom Brown, William A. Horning, and Jack Martin Smith were the production designers. The cinematographer was Harold Rosson. Costumes of the film were done by Adrian Adolph Greenberg. The collaboration of a team of artists is needed to bring about a film’s elements effectively. Victor Fleming, as the Director of the Wizard of Oz saw to it that all the elements worked together. He collaborated with the production designer and the cinematographer to discuss the aspects of mise-en-scene. He “directed” the making of the entire film. He was the control man, who did the visualization of the script and directs the artistic and dramatic elements of the film. Fleming and his scriptwriter revised the script many times throughout the production of the Wizard of Oz He also added and cut many scenes to come up with the best ones. The Production Designers of the Wizard of Oz were Malcom Brown, William A. Horning, and Jack Martin Smith. They worked closely with Fleming for the film’s mise-en-scene. They checked the important aspects of the film before photography starts. The production designers were the focal persons for the film’s general look. Brown, Horning and Smith worked with other departments of the film such as locations, sets, costumes and props. The Cinematographer of a film, who is known as the director of photography was Harold Rosson. He was responsible on how scenes in the Wizard of Oz were captured on lens. He worked closely with the Fleming and tried to achieve the technical and artistic aspects of images in a film. He was also the man who led the crew behind the cameras and the lighting. One of the noticeable aspects of the Wizard of Oz is the designed costumes. The beautiful costumes in the movie were created by Adolf Greenberg, the Costume Designer. He was very effective in bringing across the personalities of the characters through the different costumes. Costumes are an important aspect of a movie’s mise-en-scene. The makeup and overall look of characters in the film also depict personalities, emotions and state of mind of mind of characters. The close and coordinated collaboration of these artists were very important to create a meaningful film for the viewers. Each had a specific task and that through teamwork and understanding, these individuals produced the Wizard of Oz’s mise-en-scene that reflected every crucial element of the movie. One of the unforgettable scenes in the Wizard of Oz is the concluding scene where Dorothy is about to leave Emerald City in a hot air balloon. The wizard allowed Dorothy to go home to Kansas in a hot air balloon. Her dog Toto runs away and Dorothy tried to chase Toto and off went the balloon without her. In the long run, Glinda saves Dorothy. She tells Dorothy to clap her heels and soon, she arrives back home in Kansas and becomes reunited with her family. The Wizard of Oz started off in a sepia color. This technique was employed to give the viewers a contrast between settings of reality and the fantasy. It gave the audience a feel of how mundane, ordinary and colorless the life of Dorothy in Kansas, which is real. The technicolor was employed when Dorothy lands in the world of Oz, which is only a fantasy. The color and lighting of the film changed to create a shift from ordinary to glittery; from dull to colorful. The shift of color and lighting suggested that the adventures of Dorothy had begun. From a dull, boring life, she was on a road to adventure. The contrast in color gave the audience a vision that it is fantastic to be in the world of Oz, while the life in Kansas is boring and lackluster. The contrast in colors also highlighted the different personalities of the characters in the scenes. The characters in Kansas are ordinary people who live ordinary lives. The colourful characters in the world of Oz are magical, whimsical and enchanted. The last scene in the Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy ended her adventure in Emerald City and came back to Kansa gives the audience the great relief of being “home.” Through her words “there’s no place like home,” Dorothy is brought back to her old, familiar, sepia-colored life. This change of color at the end of the film suggested that even though the world of Emerald City is full of color, Dorothy still feels “at home,” happy and contented with her simple life in the arms of her loved ones. This also showed the audience that no matter how colorful, bright and adventurous your life has been, you will always seek the comforts of home because it is where your heart has started and where your heart has grown. Starting from the scenes where Dorothy arrived in the land of Oz, the lighting in the movie appeared to be very bright and soft. The lighting director uses colors that are bright, happy and lively to emphasize the characters in the land of Oz. Indeed, the elements in the film Wizard of Oz were put together effectively and achieved a very remarkable and creative mise-en-scene. No wonder, this movie is a timeless treasure. References College Film and Media Studies. (n.d.). Mise-en-Scene. Retrieved March 8, 2013, from http://collegefilmandmediastudies.com/mise-en-scene-2/ Foster, J. & Shrira, I. (4 June 2010). Why the Wizard of Oz is the most popular film of all time. Psychology Today. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-narcissus-in-all-us/201006/why-the-wizard-oz-is-the-most-popular-film-all-time


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