Nowadays, TV shows and movies are an essential part of many teens’s personal enjoyment. But many ask if these teen shows are even appropriate for young adults, or if they’re negatively influencing them.

Nowadays, TV shows and movies are an essential part of many people’s entertainment and personal enjoyment. There are TV shows for almost anything a person can be interested in, for example, cooking, baking, history and fashion. As TV shows target their content towards specific groups, many of these shows are aimed at teenagers. But many ask if these teen shows are even appropriate for young adults, or if they’re negatively influencing them.

Suicide, drugs and gang wars

Teen drama shows rose to popularity in the early 90s, mainly because of the show Beverly Hills, 90210. But they weren’t just an invention of the 90s, as the earliest ones aired in the 60s. But now they’re popular as ever, mainly because of the success of streaming websites like Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime Video.

The appeal of these shows is that teenagers and young adults can identify themselves with certain characters and can feel represented through story arcs the characters have to ensure. But some say that these shows exaggerate these real-life situations, and can ultimately influence their watchers by promoting bad behaviours.

A prime example of this is the show 13 Reasons Why. The original story line is about a teenage girl committing suicide and leaving behind thirteen tapes to explain this. The controversy originated because many viewers pointed out the missing explanations of mental health issues and also making suicide and depression seem “quirky” and “interesting”.

Another show accused of bad representation is Riverdale. The first season was about the mysterious murder of a high school student and the multiple troubles and struggles of normal small-town teenagers. But in the later seasons’ things like gang wars, organ farms, illegal box rings and demons were portrayed. The show is now said to be unrealistic and all in all just cringe because of bad writing, plot holes and weird dialogue.

The last example of shows that are seen as controversial is the show Euphoria. It first debuted in the July of this year, which makes it in comparison with the other two shows relatively new. The show is narrated by a seventeen years old girl, who just got out of rehab and is dealing with many issues like her drug addiction. Euphoria gained popularity because of it’s overall aesthetic, representation and also its cast. The accusations of controversy jumped up because of the shows rather revealing outlook on drugs and it’s rather rough sex scenes.

Try to think for oneself

But are these things actually inappropriate for teenagers, or just reality? I personally think that teen shows aren’t inherently bad, but they can give misinformation about certain topics. Even though drugs, love and underage drinking are things that young adults experience, some shows portray these things in rather inappropriate ways (for example Riverdale showing a sixteen years old character stripping for her to be accepted in a gang). Another issue is the age of most actors on these shows, as most 16-year-olds are portrayed by 20 to 24-year-olds. Even though TV shows are strictly only there for entertainment and educational purposes, I believe that they can influence us. Maybe just in the way we see ourselves or dress, but also in some of our behaviours because it is a human instinct to mimic things we think of as interesting and desirable.

In my opinion, it’s not a bad thing to watch these shows, unless they glamorize things without there being any kind of moral standards and plea, but it’s important to dissect reality and TV and still try to think for oneself.                           

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