How Does Our Childhood Media Affect Apex Cougars Today?

When I was growing up, I listened to music all the time, and my idols were music superstars. I saw Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Rhianna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and so many more stars on MTV and YouTube, and I heard them on the radio and on my siblings’ iPods. Those people inspired me to try to become a musician and an artist. My brother, on the other hand,  watched sports drama movies, such as Remember the Titans and Any Given Sunday, and was inspired by their depiction of friendship and camaraderie, so he joined the football team.

Entertainment has been an integral part of American consumerist culture since the traveling shows and thespians of the 1800s. Currently, the entertainment industry of America is nearly 7% of the national GDP and is 717 billion dollars (and yes, that is eleven figures). Our society is obsessed with what the characters in the new episode did, which streaming service has the best movies, and why the new Taylor album was either the best thing since the invention of music or garbage. We all grew up watching movies and tv shows, reading books (hopefully), and listening to music, but how do those songs, movies, books, and tv shows we grew up with, eternally locked behind our screens, affect our real life?

Jayvon, a senior at Apex High School, said that he was inspired by Justin Beiber and his song “Baby”. He stated that Baby inspired him to “find a baby”, but now he doesn’t believe in girls because “Justin Beiber made my heart break…” The junior Ryan Costa said that their favorite tv show, “My Little Pony”; their favorite movie, “The Sword in the Stone”; and their favorite book, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”; and their fantastical and whimsical art and writing styles inspired Ryan’s own artistic style. 

Meanwhile, for the underclassmen, Will Patalano, a sophomore Cougar, and his bright and bubbly personality is inspired by Spongebob in the show “Spongebob Squarepants”, a show that has “always been there” and that he continues to watch today. A ninth grader, Ethan, states that his parents showing him Luke Bryan songs and Harry Potter books, particularly “the Half-Blood Prince”, helped spark his interest in theatre, which he is a part of today and is participating in the “Seussical” musical and is incredibly excited about.

Some staff members also told Legacy about their cherished childhood tv shows, movies, songs, and books. Ms. Fackler-Bretz shared that she grew up in a conservative and rural town, but her parents exposed the young Ms. FB to a varied, unique, and interesting base of songs, such as U2 and Depeche Mode; movies, such as “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Sleeping Beauty”; books, such as “The Outsiders” and Judy Blume books; and TV shows, such as “Cheers” and “Dukes of Hazard”. Madame Nelson, although having parents who limited what she was exposed to as a child, loved experiences that were about adventure, travel, and foreign experiences, such as “Bibifoc” (“Seabert” in English, a show about a white-coat seal pup and his owners stopping poaching around the world), «Maman! J’ai raté l’avion!» (“Home Alone”), and “Chair de poule” (“Goosebumps”).

Now, showing children adult media is not a good thing. No matter how cool “American Psycho” or “Pulp Fiction” is, they will be scarred and can cause depression and anxiety later in life. Over-exposing children to media could also hurt sleep schedules, social lives, and school performance, so don’t just stick your baby in front of an iPad and call it parenting. 

Although, as seen above, consuming media as a child has the potential to teach and inspire future generations to pursue their ambitions and develop social skills and good habits. So I implore you to think about your nostalgia-inducing tv shows, movies, books, and songs and ask yourself how they affect you now and in the future.

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