The advancement of technology that the world is experiencing nowadays is continuously securing place in the hand, heart, and mind of its citizen. Computers, smartphones, game consoles, and smart TVs are everywhere. These sumptuous and high-end gadgets like it or not are inseparable part of life of the youngsters. The youths are spending too much time staring at these gadgets and they can access to anything in a single click especially entertainment. Considering the present day influences, the western entertainment is changing from time to time and it plays a crucial function in developing opinion and determining the act and achievement of the young. Hence, in order to survive the modernization, the society needs to be revamped and come as a whole by carefully selecting, managing and administering the entertainment (Ojoawo, 2017). Since the youngsters are the generation that will become the leader of the future, which the good values and qualities must be instilled and nurtured in them. According to Deodat (2015), the youngsters are already proven their potential by contributing to the nation. However, the influence that comes from western culture in terms of social media, entertainment and lifestyle give negative effects to the youngster. Even though entertainment and media give a heap of benefits to the young, but it can be said too, that it going to crush the dream of having a great potential leader in the future. The disadvantage of popular culture as being said by Ojoawo (2017) in her article is that the morality of the youngster seems to deteriorate due to the impact of continuously consuming western popular culture. So, it is believed that the Western popular culture collapses the morality of younger generation due to the portrayal of violence in Western media, the depiction of sex and nudity in Western mainstream entertainment, and the overglamourization of Western lifestyle.
The Excessive Portrayal of Violence in Western Media
First and foremost, popular culture is a major influence that causes violence in young people. Youngsters are the ones that enjoy consuming entertainment from TVs, movies and through songs so much (Thomas, 2011). While some of these media offer youngsters good entertainment and opportunity to learn, there are bad side of it. There are too much portrayal of violence in these media, especially in movies and TV dramas. Rozansky (2013) stated in his article that almost 90 per cent of the blockbuster movies throughout a 25-year time portrays at least has a five-minute part that contains violence. According to him again in another article that featuring the study published in the January 2014 issue of Pediatrics says that the popular movie rated PG-13 and R-rated film are basically the same. Rochi (2018) explained the meaning of the movie rating ‘PG-13’ and ‘R-rated’ as “some material may not be suitable for children under 13. Any nudity has to be nonsexual, and any swear words have to be used sparingly. Violence in PG-13 films may be intense, but must be bloodless” and “no one under 17 admitted without an accompanying parent or guardian. This rating is given for frequent strong language and violence, nudity for sexual purposes, and drug abuse” respectively. By the gist of what it means, it can be said that the level of violence in PG-13 rated movies are not at par with the movies rated R, yet in the study, it said otherwise. According to Bushman, Jamieson, Weitz & Romer, (2013), the reason why film producers include guns in the script to intensifying the weapon effect is because young people are more likely to watch it. Moreover, in this era of post globalization, children no longer needed to go the cinema to see movies, they are already accessible on the Internet and cable TV.
Cherry (2018) stated that a behavior can be learned through observation or imitation, this is known as Observational Learning. There was a research based on Social Learning theory called Bobo doll conducted by Albert Bandura and colleague that showed the imitation of violence by young children after they watch a movie with the character hit a balloon, later when the young children were given a Bobo doll, they did the same as the character in the movie. In essence, this theory and experiment explains that the nature of developing aggressive behavior and hostility is learned through observation and imitation. The more children and youth are exposed to violent movies and TV shows, the higher possibility for them to consider it to be normal and acceptable through their cognitive behavior. Same goes to the youth or children who usually observe violence at home or at school tend to behave more aggressively because they get the perception that being and acting aggressively with hostility is admissible.
Besides that, video games are also known as one of many other medium that its effects are varying in accord to different game content. Both Muslims and non-Muslims young generation around the world are huge consumers of video games. There are positive video games like sports and dancing show positive effects towards youngster. However, negative video games will affect youth in a negative way.
According to a study by Hummer et al. (2011), test subjects who played violent video games saw an increased level of aggression among the players. There were two groups, which one group played the violent video games for one week, whereas the other group did not play game at all. The subjects were given computer and asked to play video games at home not in a laboratory so that the subject would feel natural while playing games. The result showed that the violent video games may affect the player in a long run on the brain functioning and these outcomes will influence the behavior of the player over a period of gameplay. There is other evidence in a writing written by Hartman (2011) that stated violence video games may give bad effect to the user. He stated that:
In light of the converging evidence that playing violent games increases aggression, it appears that users harm themselves if they engage in virtual violence. The likelihood to get harmed by virtual violence can be compared to other potentially harmful behaviors, such as the risk to get lung cancer from passive smoking at work (Bushman and Anderson 2001) (Hartman, 2011, p. 34).
On top of that, violence in media such as films and video games make the consumers especially male teenagers to become more prone to violent act. The typical masculine traits such as aggressiveness, toughness, and dominance, which are required in order to emphasize the strong masculine reputation are learned from are learnt from media such as video games and films. Thus, by following the act in movies and video games, young boys feel superior and to become an alpha male, they must condone to aggressive and violent behavior. To put it briefly, video games and movies are the products of media that give big impact towards the youngster, Muslim and non-Muslim, in terms of violence.
The Depiction of Sex and Nudity in Western Mainstream Entertainment
Next, another major effect of western popular culture is in terms of sex and nudity. There is a range of form of media, for example TV shows and music videos and lyrics that are also to be blamed for showing too much sex and nudity. Early access to such explicit contents through reality shows, TV dramas, and music videos on the television and internet have numerous severe effects (Ross, 2012). For example, in the TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, the three-year old girls are competing with each other in the beauty pageant. Surprisingly, in one of the episodes, the 3-year old contestants need to dress as a prostitute played by Julia Robert in the film ‘Pretty Woman’, and they dressed up together with padded breast and buttock. In one of the article wrote by Donovan (2011), the mother of the toddler said that it was “meant to be funny and not sexual at all.” According to Henson (2011), parents did not think of the implications of endorsing their children to dress up in cute clothes or to imitate the dance move of famous artists, all of these lead to the future behavior of the children and it is not good if they think that kind of behavior would help them get noticed. This is highly immoral, imagines that other kids all over the world watch the show and starts to dress like that, and they think that this is normal because it was shown in the television, but the fact is, it is not okay at all.
In addition, inexperience youngsters tend to welcome anything that was given by the media (Bleakly and Ellithrope, 2016). This plays an important criterion in shaping kids’ morality; too much exposure to television is not good. There are lot of TV dramas that contains the portrayal of sex and nudity, and the audiences are not only adults but also teenagers. For example, the popular ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, this series presents a lot of sexual encounters, not only between men and women, but also between same-sex genders. This may direct towards unwelcome and unsafe sexual activities resulting in early pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease (Coppens, 2014). Teenagers are prone to follow the current trend without thinking of the after-effects. They imitate moves from television to be adapted in their daily life, and if they have nobody to guide them, their future may be disrupted. It is very crucial to look after teenagers from such conditions that may harm their lives, their study as well as protecting their future. Not only Grey’s Anatomy that have explicit contents, there are tons of TV series that are not suitable for teenagers and children. For example, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liar, Game of Thrones and many other more.
Besides TV shows, music industry also plays an important role that affect both Muslims and non-Muslims all around the world. According to Tsukayama (2015), young people are spending nearly nine hours on average using media such as online videos and music. They listen to the song, they find it catchy and start to memorize the lyrics, but alas, there are some of them that do not understand the real meaning behind the lyrics. The western music industry had integrated some over sexualized content in the song and the song lyrics nowadays have a lot of hidden messages, where one need to really understand the lyrics in order to get the meaning behind it. Most of it contains sexual kind of meaning. For example, in the song Work from Home by Fifth Harmony, “Let’s put it into motion/ I’mma give you promotion/I’ll make it feel like vacay, turn the bed into an ocean.” These lines basically bring the meaning of a couple is going to have sex and it is going to be great. Another example where the song lyrics portray oral sex in the song is by DNCE, Cake by the Ocean. Not only that, some western song lyrics also promote homosexuality, where in the Demi Lovato’s song, Cool for the Summer, it stated that “Take me down into your paradise/ Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type/ Just something that we wanna try/ ‘Cause you and I/ We’re cool for the summer”.
Concisely, there are a lot of sex and nudity in the Western mainstream media may it be TV show, movie and songs. Most of the teenagers don’t really care about the content of a TV show if it is entertaining. They also are oblivious about the meaning of the song, but what if they did understand the meaning; they are going to think that it is normal to do as what the song depicted because it is aired in the mainstream radio and TV across the world.
The Globalization of Western Lifestyle
Lastly, language and western lifestyle are others factors that contribute to the collapsing of youth morality. Globalization is the main reason for this to happen. According to Raikhan, Moldakhmet, Ryskeldy and Alua (2013); Pop & Valeriu (2014) globalization brings the meaning of evolution of world ideologies which combine the comprehensive mixture of people, ideas, goods and key media outlets and it happens in the background of everyone’s life without realizing it. The most influence comes from the United States and the United Kingdom such as English language movies, music, and television shows. These media are popular here in Asia, same as good as Western goods like food, soft drinks and clothing. Youngsters are undeniably involved in and affected by the process of globalization. Compared to children or adults, youngsters are more exposed to, and perhaps searching out, different types of media, like music, movies, television, and the internet, as they starting to grow towards adulthood. These channels are used to accelerate the exchange of global ideas and information, making possible changes in beliefs and behaviors among urban youngsters worldwide. In addition, language is one of the many ways through which culture affects development also how about people think and reason. The content and focus of what people talk about in their conversations can be influenced by others people impression based on what they said either bad or good words. Examples of bad languages or words are that having racial epithets, insults based on disabilities and sexual orientation.
As the Western culture is dominating the world, their lifestyle tends to be adapted. There are a lot of western lifestyles that can be discussed. For example free sex among youngsters, drugs, alcohol addicted and many more. According to Abdullahi and Umar (2013), it tends to violated norms and society whenever pre-marital sex is involved. As the consequences to the pre-marital sex, unplanned pregnancy and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases continue to be problems among youngsters. These problems resulted in health, social, and economic consequences for youngsters and their families. The study had shown that 72.8% for males; 63.2% for females), who involved in dated, exposed to pornography, and the attitude on premarital sex (Chiao & Yi, 2011). Besides that, the drug and alcohol usage among youngsters seem to be enlarged, they take drugs because they are influenced by the peers and drinking alcohol to try something new. Many youngsters do not know the dangers of taking a friend’s prescription or popping a few pills that are not prescribed to them. Unfortunately, many youngsters did not take serious about how easy it is to develop an addiction. And they do not understand the risks associated with overdosing. It is also important to aware them about the risks of underage drinking.
In the presence of social media, sexting is one of the bad influences brought by western popular culture. According to Cambridge Dictionary, sexting brings the meaning of “the activity of sending text messages that are about sex or intended to sexually excite someone”. There are effects of sexting on moral and psychological wellbeing of the child, especially if he or she has been pressured to share explicit photos. Peek (2014) stated that it will affect the sender emotionally if the nude were sent involuntarily. To make it worse, when the sender and receiver are not in a good term, most likely that the receiver will spread the photos and from here, it might have started cyber-bullying which shows that empathy does not always play a part in online environment.
In addition, the use of bad language among youngsters, or can be called swearing. Swearing is used to express their feelings such as anger, frustration, or when they want to hurt other people’s feelings. Sometimes people swear because they want to make a joke. However, it cannot be denied that swearing can take the form of verbal abuse and harassment, and it is this sort of swearing that can be harmful towards other people. According to Fanny (2014), bad language is used to express anger towards others and also become one of the factors youths saying that words because of peers influence. Swearing can be planned and also can be spontaneous. People who are willing to tell a joke using taboo language, would be considered as planned. But, if a people injured themselves and swore because of the pain, it will be considered as unplanned. Even though according to Byrne (2018), there are a lot of advantages of swearing, but to most people, swearing has negative connotations and is seen as bad language, something ugly and not appropriate. Therefore, youngsters need to be taught to talk nicely to other people.
To conclude, the problems caused by the modernization of culture are shaping the youngsters, and those who are affected tend to live in an unhealthy way of life. No supervision from parents is also one of the reasons why these problems increase. Young people who live in a broken family situation may add burden and stress into their life, thus, these teenagers dare to do something that out of normal.
In conclusion, popular culture plays a big role in determining youth’s morality. Video games, movies, TV shows, music industry, and social media are interconnected with teenagers, they are inseparable. Even though popular culture has the advantage towards the teenager, but there are disadvantages as well. The impacts of popular culture towards everyone in the world are in terms of violent culture, sexual and social and how people regardless of religion can join forces to overcome this problem. Even though popular cultures amongst youths around the world regardless of religion and race are said to affect them negatively on their morality, but it does not mean that these trends should be banned or condemned as there are a lot of measures that can be taken to overcome these issues. Muslims around the world need to take a step ahead to produce good content in media which is in accordance of Sharia. Next, Muslim and non-Muslim around the world can work together to overcome this problem.
As followers of Prophet Muhammad, Muslims need to follow Islamic ethics and morality as one of the main principle of Islam, Muslims need to observe the moral values to be considered as a real Muslim and followers of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) because the prophet said morality is the main purpose of his divine mission. Islam also emphasizes and encourages the followers to adopt good moral qualities in their lives. Indeed, the life of Prophet Muhammad stands as a clear example for all Muslims which they could learn what the truth moral is like. A Muslim has to practice and become a better on the basis of this moralist practice of Islam so that they would be among the blessed one, both in this world and Hereafter as stated in Surah al-Fath verse 28: “It is He Who sent His Messenger with the Guidance and the Religion of Truth to exalt it over every other deen and Allah suffices as a witness,” (Surat al-Fath, 28).