What could I say in an argumentative essay on whether television is a dangerous influence on teenage behavior?
Children are more likely to encounter things on television than in their daily lives. For example, it would be quite easy for a child to accidentally come across swearing, sex or violence while flipping the channels. Not all parents take advantage of blockers, and even when they do things can slip past them.
There must be a plethora of studies that indicate the number of hours that teens watch television and how they are affected. Certainly, reality programs are life imitating art that imitates life!
Many of the music videos that have subversive messages have been proved to have had effects upon certain types of people. Researching some of the reality and talk shows and music videos may prove interesting.
I would look at the differences between the FCC today and the FCC 10, 20, even 30 years ago. As the FCC loosened its restrictions on language, nudity, and violence, one could try to track the rise in promiscuity, drug use, and other influences on teenage behavior.
The main arguments in favor of this would revolve around sex, drugs or alcohol, and violence. To someone who thinks television is dangerous, the major problem is that people are often shown engaging in these kinds of behaviors, generally without negative consequences. Because people can do dangerous things on TV without "paying" for their behaviors, those behaviors seem acceptable and even cool to teens.
To argue against this idea, you can simply point out that teens are not children. They may not be so impressionable that they mightl just see something on TV and say "oh, they do that so I should too." You can argue that teens may already have their values in place and that those values may not be changed by what they see on TV.