Ethical Meltdown Among American Youths Unit


EthicalMeltdown Among American Youths


Themodern American youth has continuously demonstrated very low andsometimes embarrassing moral and ethical standards. The age at whichthe youth are engaging in premarital sex and experimenting withdrugs, cigarettes and alcohol is going lower and lower. Statistics onteenage pregnancies, abortions and instances of Sexually TransmittedInfections are still relatively high. Incidences of delinquency andviolence in schools, colleges, universities and even in neighborhoodsinvolving youths have been on the rise. This ethical meltdown onyoung Americans is a direct attribution of the media’sglorification of sex, drugs and violence.

Thereare numerous examples that confirm this situation. In 2005, 16year-old Jeff Weise apparently followed a video game-like script onhis way to kill two family members before attacking Red Lake SeniorHigh School where he shot dead seven other people before he committedsuicide. In total, he killed nine people. His passion was violenceand violent online video games and animations (De 2015). As if thatis not enough, 20-year old Adam Lanza shot dead 20 innocent kids atSandy Hook Elementary School in 2013 just to break the record forNorwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik`s toll of 77 deaths and alsolive out his video game fantasies (Jaslow 2013). Investigations laterdiscovered a trove of violent video games that he used to play forlong hours in his mother’s basement with blacked out windows. Thisclearly shows that the violent videogames have turned the playersinto violent ways. With little ethical considerations, the games passthe same effects on youthful players.

A2011 study by Notre Dame Scientists captures the current state of themoral situation of America youth. This study involving 230 youths inAmerica noted an erosion of shared moral frameworks which have beenreplaced by moral individualism popularized by the media (Brooks2011). The shared moral frameworks allow members of society to judgewhat is good or wrong per the values developed over time. Moralindividualism on other hand has no framework and individuals rely ontheir own convictions to determine what is good or wrong. Socialexpectation such as those based on religion bind members to certainexpectations (Tamborini, 2012). Such depictions of adherence to moralstandards are very rare in the media. What is marketed andpopularized by modern media is an individualized society where ‘bad’is cool and unique. The bad boy image popularized by films and videogames does not seem to be bound by any form of moral obligations.

Thebad boy dates and sleeps with many girls, kills whoever offends him,steals from others, curses, drinks and smoke cigarettes besidestaking hard drugs. With the youth consuming more of media throughmany hours spent playing videos games or watching TV, they tend toget a conviction that that is the way life is supposed to be. To becool, they engage in all these unethical practices as literallyadvised by the media. They engage in drugs use, violence and earlysex which predispose them to early pregnancies and STI’s.Historical data shows that mass murders, early pregnancy and drug useamong the youth have increased with increased media consumption(Alexander &amp Hanson, 2010).

Therole of the media in creating an unethical generation of youths inAmerica and around the world is undeniable. There is clear evidencethat many youths have lost direction in what moral and ethicalbehavior is. Interestingly, these incidences of mass murders haveincreased with increased consumption of media in different formats.It is important that future research should seek ways of teachingethical behavior through mass media. Video games that perhaps involvearresting drug users or punishing unethical behavior in games couldreverse the situation.


Alexander,A. &amp Hanson, J. (2010). Takingsides: clashing views in mass media and society.

NewYork: McGraw Hill.

Brooks,D. (September 12, 2011). If It Feels Right … NewYork Times.Retrieved from

De,S. (2015). School shooter followed video game life ‘script.’ NBCNews. Retrievedfrom

Jaslow,R. (2013). Violent video games and mass violence: A complex link. CBSNews.


Tamborini,R. (2012). Mediaand the Moral Mind.New York: Routledge.

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