The Effects of Television and Movies on Students

By Cindy Wu ’18

Most nights I find myself locked away, watching a marathon of my favorite television show. I tend to replay my favorite scenes in my head over and over, sometimes replacing the protagonist with myself.

Sometimes I imagine myself as a hero— usually a supernatural because it makes me feel powerful. Sometimes, I’m a human, but of course both physically and mentally stronger than who I really am.

Television Dramas

In a quick survey from Tech students, a majority tends to watch dramas (teen, action, thrillers, etc.). In today’s media, a lot of our television and film heroes and heroines have become most of our role models.

Even though we are all aware that television and films are unrealistic— unless they are based on a true story, what the protagonist does can give us ideas which sometimes are not the best ideas. For example, if one of your favorite characters or a group of your favorite characters tends to skip school, it might cause viewers to think it is okay to do the same. However, that is not true and deep inside we all know our education is important.

Not only can it affect our thoughts but also our expectations.

Angela Xie ’18 said, “Television dramas raises people’s expectations for many situations like relationships for example. This is a bad influence because some people set their expectations impossibly high, and as a result can ruin other people’s self esteem.”

This is not only a bad influence, but it is an awful habit because you are trying to get a person to act like someone they’re not. It is important to accept others for who they are and not expect them to be a fictional character.

The media forces many stereotypes in our brains, especially for our younger audiences. When I was in primary school, I believed cheerleaders and jocks were the only popular and cool kids in school. Everything else was considered uncool and ‘nerdy.’ Obviously, that is NOT true and absolutely ridiculous.

People should not feel forced to participate in certain types of activities just so they can gain social status or make others favor them. Doing things that you truly enjoy makes you cool, brave, smart and attractive. So don’t be afraid to do what you have always wanted to do. Do not fear others judging or looking down on you based on your hobbies or interests. Whether it’s learning how to play an instrument or listening to a certain type of music, just pursue it!

Films also feature a lot of various trends. A particular television show or movie can feature particular brands of backpacks, shoes, etc. Characters can dance, sing, draw and even talk in a certain way. Being obsessed with a fictional character can influence students, or anyone in general, to want to look like, act or become someone else.

Being a certain character might make you feel cooler or more superior, however, it’s important to remember to be yourself and not do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. In the end of the day, there’s only one you, and one version of everyone else.

Our virtual role models not only have the ability to affect our thoughts, they can also influence our actions. Most films nowadays feature an unhealthy amount of violence— it almost seems common now. It is not unusual to see fighting scenes that includes verbal and physical assaults. What might be considered an assault by law enforcement is now entertainment for people of all ages.

When you see physical fights nowadays, you don’t see others trying to stop them anymore. You usually see bystanders taking out their phones to record it so they can post it on the internet and talk about it. People don’t tend to take notice of the seriousness and even encourage fighting until someone gets severely hurt.

I notice when people are angry, they tend to attack one another, physically or verbally. Myself included, am guilty of verbally assaulting the people around me when I am having a bad day. However, what happened to sitting down calmly and talking about the situation without blaming each other or creating more drama?

We don’t have to solve our problems with punching someone or saying negative things to bring them down. In either situation, at least one person gets hurt. Even if these situations happen a lot in films, it does not mean it has to in real life. Solving our problems in a more mature way can minimize offending or hurting others.

Don’t pressure or threaten someone in attempt to solve problems, it only makes things worse. If you’re in conflict with a person, figure out how to resolve it in a non-violent way. Give each other some time to think and talk about the situation. If neither parties want to solve the problem, simply leave the situation.

Anime

I’m sure most of us watch or watched anime, or Japanese animation. Anime is different from cartoons. They have a complex plot just like any other television shows or films and they features events from the real world.

Particular animations leave viewers feeling positive and motivated. For example, after watching the popular sports anime, “Haikyuu”, viewers might feel inspired to learn or start playing volleyball. It can also encourage viewers to exercise more or try something new.

However, there are some animations that might leave a negative effect. “Death Note”, a popular thriller since 2006 can influence viewers to do things they normally wouldn’t do. The animation is about a highschool boy finding a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it. The protagonist eventually becomes a mass murderer.

There are several cases where this anime has became a problem for teens. In Oklahoma of 2009, two students wrote the names of other students they didn’t like in a “death note” they created, along with how they’d like those students to die. Similar incidents occurred in Virginia, South Carolina, Washington, Alabama and many other states.

Although students didn’t get hurt in these situations, this is still a really poor way of thinking. Even if you dislike someone, you still don’t have the right to take someone’s life or think about taking someone’s life. It is a crime and a sin. There are bigger problems in the world that you should worry about.

Anime can also cause addiction. Anime addiction can be both good or bad.

Starting off with the bad effects, anime addiction can affect behavioral problems and mental and social aspects.

Behavioral problems includes what we mentioned before with ‘Death Note.’

Mental aspects includes losing the sense of reality. To avoid this, students should develop self control and know their top priorities.

Social aspects can cause people to stop going out or stop hanging out with friends. Being obsessed and addicted with anything and cause a person to neglect themselves or to neglect others.

However, based on research, more students have increased their social skills rather than decrease. Sometimes it is easier to make friends with anime addicts. When students become anime fans, they’re almost always immediately accepted by other students who like anime. They share the same passion and have more in common— favorite anime, favorite characters or catchy lines.

Personally, I believe anime sparks an interest in art for students. They have a higher chance of enhancing their drawing skills and imagination. Anime can also inspire students to learn the Japanese language and culture.

Cho Yan Huang ‘18 noted, “Anime is not only for kids like how most people view them as. Anime exposed me to a lot of Japanese culture related things such as their style of clothing and daily lifestyle.”

Eric Zheng ‘18 said, “For me, art makes anime attractive and keeps me watching it. Without good art— color choices, creativity, precision and aesthetics, no matter how good the plot of voice acting is, the anime may be unappealing. My drawings are inspired by this philosophy. The visual aspect works together to create something that seems alive and instills wonder and amazement into people.”

No matter what kind of genre you like, films and animations are a great way of relieving stress and a great source of entertainment. However, it is important to remember that they aren’t real and they shouldn’t affect your relationships with the people around you or the choices you make. Most importantly, it is important to enjoy television shows and movies since they are made for your entertainment.

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