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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