Teenage addicts learning from popular youth culture

Teenage is a tough time. Asides the bodily changes one goes through, it is also a time when children are becoming young adults and hence taking on individual identities. This is the time when they are breaking away from all prior associations and relationships, especially that with their parents, and are attempting to forge new and autonomous connections.

Regardless of what they say, any parent can tell you this is when they are highly impressionable. Peers make up a strong part of the influencing factors on them during this time. Fitting in and being part of social cliques is a real life desire of many teens. And in order to fit in, they look to pop culture for guidance.

Now this is where the danger comes in. Pop culture is slowly becoming a reservoir of dangerous ideological concoctions. Teen substance abuse problems are being traced back to media and television representation. When we look at the world of celebrities, we can clearly see patterns of drug abuse, alcohol usage and sexually deviant behavior. And all of this is lending a helping hand to teenage problems, including the most terrifying, teen pregnancies.

The media representation of celebrity behavior being trendy, cool, or desirable is what can set off all sorts of problem. Teens take after their favorite celebrities and try to emulate them as best as they can.  This means they attempt to dress like them, wear the same brands of clothing and shoes, and further try and adopt their personalities and traits. Now in the world of pop culture, all of this is acceptable behavior- but in everyday society adopting these sorts of behaviorisms poses problems for teens in both their academic and social life.

Pop Culture is not limited to television or movies but is also now diffused into books as well as online activity. Everything which takes place during teen interactions, whether they be face to face or through electronic means of communication, become a sort of throwback to celebrity actions. The famous social network Twitter seems to be driven largely in part by scandalous or provocative Celebrity tweets.

 All of this means that teens now pay less attention to their parents and teachers as role models and more to pop culture icons. Hence drug and alcohol abuse is something not just trendy, it is also thrilling, and a double means of rebellion as well as initiation into ‘cool’ crowds. The best way to combat this and to make sure that your child does not end up on this same downtrodden track many teens are falling victim to is to build stronger communication.

The number one reason that teens take inspiration from addiction in pop culture is due to lack of self esteem. Their low confidence in themselves leads them to look for validation outside of themselves, and there seems to be no better place than the world of TV, movies and celebrities.  In order to break the cycle, as a parent your job is to make sure your children realize the real life consequences of attempting to be like their heroes. Addiction is not a cup of tea, it is a life long struggle for some and a complete dead end for others even despite drug rehab. Getting this across to them is of dire importance.  


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