In first week of August 2004 MORI did a study into the media image of young people by researching local and national newspapers for Young People Now magazine. The majority of articles offered a negative perspective on young people and their actions. Almost three quarters (71%) of the 603 youth related articles had a negative tone towards young people with only 14% positive ones and the remainder of the articles were neutral. The context of a third of articles related to young people discussed violent crimes or antisocial behaviour and only 8% of the articles showed their achievements.

The newspapers highlighted violent young men, with nearly 70% of stories involving boys and violent behaviour which also described them as the perpetrator although surprisingly girls were described as the victim in 90% of cases even though violence from girl gangs has risen in society. (MORI, 2004) Although if you compare this with the truth, MORI carried out research in 2003 for the Youth Justice Board which revealed that only 7% of young people in mainstream schools had been in trouble with the police in the past year, and the vast majority the crimes committed were not violent crimes.

Also this year young people aged 15-17 were surveyed and 52% of them had been the victim of a crime in the past year. In a survey in 2003 for Nestle Family Monitor 64% of 11-18 year olds said that they would not trust a journalist to tell them the truth therefore they do not believe what they read in the newspapers. (MORI, 2004) Through the use of television documentaries the media portrays adolescents in a bad light they seem to concentrate on the mistakes and negative issues instead of the good things that young people do.

On Channel 4 there was a series of programmes on recently called “Brat Camp” the teenagers that took part were described as being rude, spoilt and lazy the youths. There is similar programme starting on BBC THREE called “Teen Angels” and they describe the programme as “taking the rage out of teenagers” this is quite a general assumption and leads us to believe that all teenagers have angry outbursts. On the web page Star Now there was an advertisement for yet another television show wanting angry teenagers aged 14-19 the advertisement read ” Don’t make me angry!…

just regular teens that have trouble in keeping control during verbal arguments… ” again this seems to be making the assumption that all teenagers have trouble keeping control of their temper. An article in one newspaper described “our 15 year old girls as leading the world in boozing, obesity and taking drugs. ” In this short article the newspaper had managed to convinced the reader that this applied to all teenage girls in Britain.

(Children’s Express, 2004) A recent television series called “Weighing in” was about a camp for children and youths who are over weight or clinically obese at first you may think that this would have been insensitive but the programme was surprisingly sympathetic. The children and teenagers had their own say and told the viewers about how they felt and it gave a real insight into how excessive weight can affect young people both physically and mentally.

Although this programme was shown from the youths perspective which is a positive step it is still negative in the way that it is pointing out a flaw in young people within our modern society. The 90’s and 00’s cannot be described as being the same as the 60’s or 70’s or even the 80’s because the media affects young people much more than it did then. In the 60’s and 70’s there was less newspapers, magazines, and television was less commonplace in the home.

In the 80’s the media had become more widespread but it did not affect young people as much as in the 90’s and 00’s. Young people became seen as being a new welcome addition to the consumer market in the 80’s and the targeting of this group has been escalating ever since. Adolescents have been targeted through advertising, with the growth of teenage magazines aimed specifically at this age group and clothing departments aimed at them too with piped in pop music and trendy young shop assistants.

References:

Maltinsky, W, 2005, Section 3: Adolescence Through History

http://vle.uhi.ac.uk:8900/SCRIPT/cod_bacys/scripts/serve_home

Accessed 23/03/2005

Maltinsky, W, 2005, Section 6: Adolescence in the Media

http://vle.uhi.ac.uk:8900/SCRIPT/cod_bacys/scripts/serve_home

Accessed 23/03/2005