The media gives a negative image to adolescents

June 10, 2010

Unfortunately for the adolescents living in today’s society, their image on television is less than appealing. One look at an episode of 90210, the OC, or Gossip Girl will have you believing that all adolescents are criminals. Today’s media portrays adolescents in a very bad light; the truth has yet to be revealed. What the audience needs to realize is that television shows such as the ones mentioned above are created to hold the attention of the viewer, therefore creating as much as drama as is necessary. As we have learned, all media messages are constructions. The media does not necessarily reflect external reality. They have crafted an image for teenagers that do not serve adolescents justice.

The adolescent stereotype can be summed up intro three words, sex, drugs, & rock and roll. However, this can be very misleading. Teenagers are known for experimentation and rebelling, but this is only a portion of teenagers. Just like there are demographics for adults, there should be demographics for teenagers. Every time there is a teenager on a television show, they are having sex, drinking, smoking, or breaking the law. This is the media’s opinion on adolescents.

Adolescents’ problems go past the superficial ones depicted in the media. The media only shows a small variety of teenage groups, more commonly the “popular”. We are not all thinking about prom, or who has the best hair cut, or who has the best clothes. Our lives revolve around pressure from not only our peers, but what society has depicted us as. Once the media decided on their opinion of us, we feel subjected to meet to their expectations. How often do you see a television show about a normal middle class student trying to get grades to get into university without cheating? Never. What we do see are rich, spoiled brats who go shopping.

Freaks and Geeks is a television series that was discontinued because it was too SMART. The showed looked into the lives of many teenagers dealing with various problems, social standards, school, peer pressure, bullying, and even dealing with grief.

Not all of us go to a rich private school, and have unlimited amounts of money and time (there can’t be that many hours in one week to go through all the drama in these television series).

Reality TV is definitely subjective. Television shows like Laguna Beach and my Super Sweet Sixteen are not a proper portrayal of our lives. On Laguna Beach, these teenagers are running around spreading rumours and it seems almost impossible to co exist in their world. Once more, it seems that the only thing their lives revolve around is excessive drama. On my super sweet sixteen, we see sixteen year olds who throw 500, 000 dollar parties in honour of themselves. How often does that happen in Canada? Never. Unfortunately, the adolescents who try hard in school to achieve good grades in order to go to university and get an education never get casted.

TV companies have one prerogative in mind, money. Sex sells, therefore the more drama included into these shows, the better; even at the expense of an entire generation. Negative images sell; the news is more likely to report a teenager killing someone then a teenager getting an A.


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