Can TV shows change a nation's values?on June 13, 2012 @ 11:58 am (Updated: 3:03 pm - 6/13/12 )
Are TV shows like "iCarly" and "Hannah Montana" causing a shift in youth values. (AP Photo/file)
Are kids TV programs focusing on fame and fortune chipping away at the values of community and family?
A mom who observed her daughter's favorite TV programs, like "Hannah Montana" and "iCarly," focused a lot on fame, decided to take a closer look at the impacts that might have.
Deseret News reports mom, and doctoral student, Yalda Uhls and her colleague, Dr. Patricia Greenfield, conducted a survey asking people to identify the top values from popular TV shows spanning the past five decades.
Their research found that after 2007, "fame" was identified as the top value on the TV shows. In previous decades, their survey showed "community feeling" was the strongest theme.
Today's top TV value was also recognized as a major aspiration for tweens that were part of a follow-up study. When asked which of the values considered in the TV show survey they were most interested in achieving, between, "fame," "achievement," "image," "community feeling," and "benevolence," 40 percent of the teens listed "fame" as their first goal.
97.3 KIRO FM Ross and Burbank Show host Dave Ross points out that fame today is not necessarily linked to achievement.
"The idea that seems to have taken over now," says Ross, "is being famous whether there is an objective reason for you to be famous or not, like achieving something, achieving the Nobel Prize, or winning at a sports event."
Achieving fame today can be as easy as posting your cat in a bathing suit on YouTube, says Ross.
"The generation raised on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter looks up to people who attract an audience, fictional or otherwise," says the Deseret News article.
Ross points out kids get a lot of validation today from sources that weren't part of the equation before.
"The validation that a lot of young people are getting today is from some sort of screen, some sort of display, not from actual people that you touch and interact with everyday," says Ross. "If that's the currency of self esteem now, then of course all you can do to gather more of that currency is to get hits on your website or your Facebook page."
Uhls points out to Deseret News, "A lot of social media is really about a focus on the self."
"Some experts think the new television landscape, populated by celebrities in their own world and the outside one, is both reflecting and contributing to a larger shift in youth culture, where fame for fame's sake is the highest of aspirations, and success of the self is to be prized above all," says the Deseret article.
Curley says if there really is a shift in this direction, it's not a good thing.
"If you continue to raise a generation of narcissists that all they do is care about themselves, and not think of community, and not think of raising a family, and are unable to instill values that keep us strong as a nation, then we are in trouble," says Curley.
By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor
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