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"Whoever controls the media, controls the mind" - Jim Morrison


Megan Thee Stallion attends the American Music Awards in November 2019.  Rodin Eckenroth / Stringer / Getty Images

Lyrics Matter! Videos Matter! Media portrayals can distort what a healthy relationship looks like to young people. Often, we hear lyrics that equates “being in love” with dominance, control, violence, jealousy, infidelity and sex. These messages that young people receive through music are unhealthy relationship behaviors, but society has managed to convince teens into thinking these behaviors are a normal part of relationships. Since young people will continue to listen to popular music that they hear despite the messages that are being sent, analyzing song lyrics and music videos with young people provides a creative safe space for open discussion on unhealthy relationships that are being perpetuated through the media. It is easy to overlook the lyrics of a song when you are singing along to the tempo and internalize images that are depicted in music videos.


Television and its effects on teen relationships.

Television portrayals of romantic relationships set toxic unrealistic expectations for young people. Popular television shows such as YOU, Never Have I Ever, Euphoria, Blood & Water and Riverdale portray harmful relationship dynamics. Television doesn’t always depict the negative consequences of the actions for its characters in movies and television shows. Popular mainstream media further push the narrative that these unhealthy and sometimes abusive relationship behaviors are normal and not dangerous. Leading young people to romanticize harmful relationships with the belief that they have no negative consequences at all. For adults, we know this to be untrue. Things such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies from unsafe sex, the turmoil from those unhealthy or abusive relationships are rarely shown on television. This is where parents come in, parents should use scenarios from movies and television shows for discussions with their teen to differentiate what's reality and what's fiction.

Social Media

Young people spend a great deal of time on social media, posting and liking images, leaving comments, or just scrolling to pass time. Social media is often used to solidify the status of one’s romantic relationship. For many young people constantly viewing others’ posts can cause extreme pressure for them to live a similar lifestyle or seek a romantic relationship to avoid feeling left out. When it comes to relationships and social media, most people only post the highs of their relationship, for obvious reasons. From the outside looking in a relationship may appear to be healthy but can be the complete opposite. Often there’s usually more than what meets the eye. However, young people are under the impression that "happy" pictures of couples and sweet posts are #relationshipgoals, and they begin to want the same. 

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