Experience and statistics show that media saturation is redefining society, according to author, and syndicated Catholic radio and TV show host, Teresa Tomeo. She is one of four international journalists invited by the Pontifical Council for the Family to share their expertise at the Vatican this week at a roundtable discussion on the topic, “Explore the Rights of the Family and the Challenges of the Contemporary World.” Tomeo who has 32 years working in the media, will share overwhelming evidence — both professionally and personally — to demonstrate the powerful influence of the media on the culture, and the extent to which it is dominating family life. She points out that in the U.S., young people consume 53 hours of media per week and adults watch at least three hours of TV daily. “Much of the content on TV promotes sex without consequences, and overall undermines the values of the family,” says Tomeo.
Tomeo also warns that the media is also linked to the sexualization of girls, causing an increase in low self-esteem. She understands this first hand, having suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager, which she attributes to her exposure to television and other media growing up. In her book, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture, Tomeo shares her personal story of overcoming the harmful messages from the media which took a heavy toll on her own life.
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In Tomeo’s first book, Noise: How Our Media-saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families, she explains how we don’t need to be afraid of the media. “We can use the media to our advantage to communicate a message of hope,” Tomeo says. “But it’s important for us to understand its power, as well as the damaging effects it is having on families and our culture, such as the sexual content on TV that has been linked to early sexual activity among teens along with a higher rate of teen pregnancy.” Tomeo will share with the select judges, lawyers, and those working in the legal profession different ways media has had the capacity to do grave harm to families, by presenting an inadequate, or even a deformed outlook on life, religion and morality.