PSAs in Everyday Life?

Posted: October 12, 2012 in Start Strong Austin

By Hanna Munin

Over the past couple of months, I have spent a lot of time of Hulu trying to get caught up on all the shows that are about to start back up. I can’t even begin to describe how annoying it is to have to watch one pointless advertisement over and over again. Because I can’t fast forward past it, I just have to suffer through it until the TV show I was watching comes back on. One time, instead of an advertisement, there was a PSA (public service announcement) from thatsnotcool.org that showed examples of digital abuse in teen relationships. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it if you want to see an accurate portrayal of abuse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2gIEqW-lL8). Because of my line of work, I get really excited whenever issues related to healthy relationships are in the media for more people to get a grasp of, so naturally, having a healthy relationship PSA on Hulu got me really excited.
Abusive relationships are a major problem in our society. One in three teens will experience an abusive relationship. The odds are too high and not enough is being done in schools and the media to educate teens on what a healthy relationship is and how to handle abuse in relationships correctly. By having PSAs, instead of the unavoidable commercials on sites like Hulu, teens, parents, and teachers can briefly learn elements of unhealthy relationships. The benefit of showing a PSA about abusive relationships, instead of an ad for a store, is that the viewers actually have a chance to learn something. A teen could be on the commercial break of the new episode of Pretty Little Liars, see the PSA, and then start to think “Wow. My friend Gabriel is always being controlling like that to his girlfriend. That’s not right. Something needs to be done about that.”

Having PSAs on websites could give teens the tools to become advocates about healthy relationships by letting them know the ways to identify unhealthy behaviors and about organizations they can go to for help. Then, they can go to their friends with information about what they can do to address the problem.
Personally, I think that if PSAs that address unhealthy behaviors in relationships were more prevalent online and on television, abusive relationships would be less frequent. Think about it: if everyone that is watching TV saw that advertisement, they would learn about one more form of dating abuse and learn where to go to get help. That would have to make some sort of a difference, right? Kudos to Thatsnotcool.org for going mainstream with the PSA. Hopefully, more and more PSAs will come out through prevalent media sources for teens to access.

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