Popular culture is partly responsible for the homogenization of the culture in different parts of the world. It is also attributable to the emerging trends in dressing, hair styles and lingua. Music, in particular, influences the youth and the old alike on various aspects of life. Music has a large fan base, meaning that the themes associated with particular music are likely to influence the specific population that listens to the songs under that genre. Fans of country songs, for example, have a tendency to adopt conservativeness that is normally associated with this kind of music. Similarly, hip hop songs influence the behaviors of the people that listen to it. For example, hip hop fans tend to acquire a new clothing fashion that resembles those of the artists. These illustrations prove that music is a powerful tool of social transformation and a driver of emerging subcultures. Mostly, music transforms its listeners through its videos. Visual music is prepared in a manner that would attract its viewers. Therefore, youngsters get easily moved by the attire, dancing styles, behaviors, and the conduct of the artists and dancers in the video. The songs lyrics may also contain profane words that can change the speech patterns of the young listeners. There is scientific evidence to show that music videos promote immorality among the adolescents that is expressed in form of sexting, substance abuse and aberrant perception of physical appearance.
The increased consumption of visual music with explicit content exposes children to sexual imagery at an early age. This exposure, in effect, transforms their naive mind into a sexually aware one and arouses their need to experiment what they consume on regular bases. Sexual activity in unduly exposed individual is discernible through sexting. This behavior is defined as the exchange of explicit content through social media, Internet and the text messages (Van Ouytsel, Malrave, & Ponnet, 19). Sexting develops slowly as the sexual mind of adolescents develops as a result of watching music video with adult content. Scientific research shows that boys are more influenced by music videos than girls. According to this research, the effects of pornography and that of music videos are related, although the later provokes adolescents to asking for sexts from their peers (Ouytsel, Malrave, & Ponnet, 21). There are new insights that this research gives to parents and morality police in the society. Uncontrolled watching of music videos showing dancers and performers with scanty dressing or adults dancing in sexually provocative manners is likely to have negative effects of adolescents sexuality in both the short and long term.
Drug abuse is another vice that gives concern to parents, teachers and the society in general. Drug abuse promotes the sale and distribution of illegal substances and has a direct or indirect influence on the economy, poverty, and criminal behavior. One of the subtle means by which drug abuse behavior creeps into the society is through music videos. Popular music videos directly influence alcohol and cigarette initiation, and indirectly shape the abuse of marijuana through peer association (Slater & Henry, 13). The specific content of the music that contributes to the development of immoral behavior is the conduct of the artists and their accomplices in the music video. There is a common notion that artists are rich and successful. This notion creates a false perception among the youth that immorality has no damaging effect on success and popularity. Youngsters exposed to music video in which artists are abusing drugs cannot, therefore, exercise restraint on these behaviors due to the false perception. Music listenership also creates a cohort of fans that relate to a specific genre of songs. Adolescents that share a common listenership, therefore, form a group that assumes a common behavioral pattern that often relates to the genre of music that binds them together. If the genre in question promotes drug abuse or trafficking behavior, these peers are at a greater risk of consuming drugs of abuse.
While drug abuse and sexual immorality place adolescents at a risk of dropping school or contracting venereal diseases, low self-esteem is also a formidable force in destroying the future of young people. Self-esteem stems from an internal conviction within an individual, but also from the comments made by other people regarding a person. Some of the compliments that people give to an individual include the recognition of their intelligence or good physical looks. Male adolescents, in particular, develop self-esteem from the appreciation from peers of their strength, height, brevity, and intelligence. If a negative complement regarding these attributes is made, boys may lose self-esteem which and can be detrimental to their academics and emotional wellbeing. Early, mid, and late adolescent boys who regularly watch music videos of muscular and attractive singers report low happiness levels, poor mood control, and a general dissatisfaction with their upper body physique (Mulgrew, Volcevski-Kostas, & Rendell, 141). Music videos display artists who have the ideal body shape. This shape is enviable by the viewers despite the impracticability of achieving it in the short run. Male artists having the ideal body physique are considered attractive by women, and adolescents boys who are attention seekers strive to emulate the artists. Even the well-built boys whose muscles are smaller than those of the said artists feel unsatisfied with their looks and therefore suffer from low esteem. Low esteem is sometimes associated with unsociable behavior. There is evidence to prove that people with low self-esteem are socially excluded, and more predisposed to criminal behavior. In other words, watching music videos is partly involved in the deterioration of self-esteem, which in turn promotes unsociable behavior among the youth.
It is indeed true that popular culture creates a subculture within the society, with the members of the miniature cultural group adopting a characteristic behavioral pattern that defines them. Some of these members are adolescents who watch music videos together. These videos influence their behavior and diminish their self-esteem, predispose them to illicit sexual behavior, and place them at a higher risk of consuming drugs like marijuana and alcohol. One of the ways through which illicit sexual behavior manifests itself is through sharing explicit content through the social media and text messaging services. Music videos promote this immoral behavior at a magnitude more or less that of pornography. Adolescents tend to emulate their idolized artists whom they consider successful and popular. Therefore, if music videos depict a drug-using artist as successful, the adolescents are likely to ape their behavior as shown in the music videos. Lastly, male adolescents who perceive artists as having perfect body shapes often feel demoralized by their physical looks. Consequently, they develop a negative opinion of themselves which ultimately manifests as low self-esteem. In line with the differential association theory, adolescents with a low self-esteem are likely to engage in anti-social behavior at some point in their life.
Mulgrew, Kate E., Diana Volcevski-Kostas, and Peter G. Rendell. "The effect of music video clips on adolescent boys body image, mood, and schema activation." Journal of youth and adolescence 43.1 (2014): 92-103.
Slater, Michael D., and Kimberly L. Henry. "Prospective influence of music-related media exposure on adolescent substance-use initiation: A peer group mediation model." Journal of health communication 18.3 (2013): 291-305.
Van Ouytsel, Joris, Koen Ponnet, and Michel Walrave. "The associations between adolescents' consumption of pornography and music videos and their sexting behavior." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17.12 (2014): 772-778.
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