Media is considered one of the four Agents of Socialization in the science of Sociology. Like the other agents (family, school, peers), the media is part of our learning how to behave in society and what are the expected norms and ideals that shape our society. In the past the media was not as powerful an agent as it is today. There are many reasons for this.
Entertainment media is more prevalent in our life. Thanks to cable television, the internet, and media phones and other electronic devices, the media is more integrated into every moment of our lives like never before. Also, the media is constantly pushing the envelope on what is acceptable behavior and norms. Our society is being redefined not by the members of the society, but rather a select few who are not motivated by the betterment of society. The profit motive has moved media moguls to create shocking and "fun" entertainment that has reshaped our values and taught young people that "if it feels good, do it." Glorification of violence and increasing open sexuality are just a couple of the changing norms in our society that seem to be directly linked to modern media.
One major difference between the past and now, though, as well as a major factor in how to rise above this influence, lies in the oldest social institution; the family. In the past, one parent was more typically at home to monitor the ifluence of media on teens. In the past, families didn't have to pursue multiple incomes to make a living in our society. In the past, single-parent families were less likely and therefore less pressure was brought to bear by socializing agents outside of the family.
Families have to regain control of what our society is. The media's inlfuence can be lessened by a stronger involvement of the family and a greater emphasis on embracing norms and values that enhance our society's tolerance, peace and harmony.