In this essay i will be disscussing how the media portray young people. I will look at how the media is powerful and is it good or bad? Is the media portraying young people as negative or is it just that we like to hear bad things and it sells? I will use a case study and look at the headlines from some of the most popular papers of today. Are we looking in the wrong places?
The media is very important to keep people aware of serious issues like the news, current affairs. New media is important because it lets ordinary people have a say with blogs, facebook, twitter. All types of media are important but can they be abused? The media has massive power over how people view the world around them and, often influences our decisions (.i.e the war on terrorism). Hitler’s propaghanda was spread through various forms of media. When jewish owned media was forced to close the jewish communities of that time were marginalised and became less knowledgable about what was going to happen next. New media is equally as dangerous. Anyone can have a blog and post opnions on the web. With Facebook and Twitter can have real power but often it is used as a popularity contest with who has the most friends. Likewise with young people it shapes our view of them. Is it negative or are we ignoring the positives? What happens if you type into google positive stories about young people?
Lazy lager louts, pill popping, happy slapping vandals! Is this how young people are viewed. When you look at papers or watch T.V programs from holidays young people are painted in a very bad light. While some young people do behave this way not all young people do. This is usually the way the media portrays young people. They use big catchy headlines to catch your attentin when its a negative news story. Often they don’t print good news stories. In England last year the pass rate for the GCSE’s was above average and the headlines were saying that the GCSE’s had got easier, instead of giving credit to the students who passed it. They always report how many students go out to celebrate and if any trouble is caused but never on how good they do.
Young people can’t be blamed for under age drinking when drinking is glamorised to them from various forms of media. On Facebook you have advertisements on your page from Bicardi and Smirnoff, showing cocktails and young people drinking them. In magazines you have pictures of drinks in bright colours which are aimed at young people. I remember the Sugar magazine that people my age bought years ago and in this magazine drinking having sex was glamorised and it actually gave you tips on how to have sex. This was a magazine for young people aged between 13 and 18 years. All these things together do have an impact on young people and alcohol advertisements are done in subtile way that does get into young peoples heads. The truth of teenage drinking is a nagan bottle of vodka mixed into a fizzy drink bottle. If this image was shown it would be less encouraging.
|“Alcohol advertisements promote underage drinking by targeting youth with things like entertaining commercials, interesting slogans or modeling that the behavior of drinking is “cool,” and should be stopped or advertised very differently.”
Whats not advertised is the long term affects that alcohol has on the brain. Alcohol is a depressant and with long term use it can make you depressed. Mental health is an important issue espcially with young people. You only have to look around the town you live in and you see how many young people have committed suicide or even attempted it. These magazines don’t have these issues in them or if they do there often small articles which are boring looking or there beside other fun articles that you take more notice of.
“Alcohol can activate a gene that has been linked to depression and other mental issues. The result of this activation can cause not only depression, but in extreme cases seizures, and manic depressive episodes.” (http://howistoppeddrinking.org/how-alcohol-causes-depression)
How teen magazines contributed to todays young society
Teen magazines from the 90’s had so much power over the young population at that time which was dangerous in its own way. We would read magazines like Seventeen or Sugar and even if we didn’t like them there was a section for every one. The front cover on these magazines would be very similiar to Cosmopolitan, which was for an older age group. Often in big catchy leeters on the cover “ How hot are you?” or “Dating does and don’ts”. These articles really got into young peoples heads and actually caused more fear and panic in young people by giving them all the wrong typpes of advise. There was always an article about sex and how to pleasure your boyfriend, when it should have really been about how to stand up for yourself when this issue came up. The enphasis was always about how the girl pleasures the boy so they feel good but not about the girls rights and how to deal with the peer presure around this topic. I know from growing up around this time most of my class mates now in the early 20s are all mothers like myself and these magazines did influence us at the time. However im not saying that they are to blame for us being young parents, but could have influence us.
These magazine focus was profit when it should be empowering young people there aimed for. Most of these articles had a negative effect on teenagers because teenage minds are vunerable because they are yet to experience these issue. They look for articles that will re-enforce what they already believe to be true not what actually is true. Having articles on how to perform in the bedroom has a very negative effect. I know from one of my friends when we where 14 she read an article on sex and did it with her boyfriend but then she found out she was just been used and was dumped after it. After this she had a very low opinion of herself that carried on in each relationship until she was about 20. These magazine promote bad self esteem. They calm to promote confidence in young girls when really they give them the wrong advise and it takes there self confidence away.
They promote the stereotypical views of teenagers and the call it the “teenage dream”. A catch phrase that enalienates young people for not doing these things and thats where the danger is. It contirutes to these feelings where im not normal because im not drinking or having sex.
Often young people are seen as the people to blame when some thing goes wrong i.e vandalism in the park, grafitti and knife crime. If you like hoodies your up to some thing. What people don’t understand is that hoodies is part of the fashion. Most jumpers have hoods on them because its just the way there made. If its cold outside you were your hood up its just to keep your head warm not because your going to rob the old woman at the end of the street. The articles in papers often refer to young people as hoodies. They were them to hide there face well ifs that true then they could were a balaclava because that actually does hide your face. While alot of young people who do commit crime would where a hoodie it doesn’t mean that all young people wearing them are about to commit a crime. They are a fashion state at best. Its the media that have made hoodies look bad.
“I think the bad reputation of hoodies is probably more perception than reality in most cases. Most young people are law-abiding people. I think the issue around people who wear hooded tops is that they have got their faces hidden, so there’s a perception amongst people that not only is their face hidden, but they’re hiding something else, too. There’s another reason behind the fact that their face is hidden to some extent. This behaviour by hoodies then generates a perception or fear of crime.”
Is the media good or bad?
We need the various forms of media that we have available to us. The media is both good and bad. The media can be used to tell us important issues that have happened i.e the earthquake in Japan, but it can be used to transmitt propaghanda aslo i.e Hitler closing down Jewish owned newspapers so he could spread propaghanda and full the hatred against them. Different types of newspapers report different types of stories. Tabloids print untruths and use catchy headlines that stick in your head. Broadsheets are more factual and don’t use glossly headlines to grab our attention but they still portray young people in a negative way. We know that tabloids lie and when Stephen Gately died last year this was a proven fact. So if we know they lie about people why do we believe them when they report untruths about young people.
Are we looking in the wrong places ?
Are we just looking in the wrong places. We already know that tabloids exaggerate the truth so why do we read them and believe them for ? There is as many positive stories about young people. Free community magazines that get delivered to your door would normally have a community bullent board highlighting events that come up and youth groups are in this section.
Foroige did a survey to see how people taught young people were treated by the media.
“Limited Desire to Go Back in Time A new survey examining attitudes to young people reveals that young people are generally perceived positively by society, but are treated unfairly or harshly by the media. Almost seven out of 10 people (66%) polled say that they view young people in a positive light. However, when it comes to the representation of young people by the media, a similar two in three (68%) strongly agree the media feeds on negative stories, as negative news gets more attention. Half say that media reporting is often unbalanced and selective and fails to report good news stories about the youth of today. On the other hand, over a quarter (28%) do feel that young people deserve negative reporting as they need to “learn a lot of lessons”. People over 65 are more inclined to think this way”.
“Limited Desire to Go Back in Time A new survey examining attitudes to young people reveals that young people are generally perceived positively by society, but are treated unfairly or harshly by the media. Almost seven out of 10 people (66%) polled say that they view young people in a positive light. However, when it comes to the representation of young people by the media, a similar two in three (68%) strongly agree the media feeds on negative stories, as negative news gets more attention. Half say that media reporting is often unbalanced and selective and fails to report good news stories about the youth of today. On the other hand, over a quarter (28%) do feel that young people deserve negative reporting as they need to “learn a lot of lessons”. People over 65 are more inclined to think this way”(foroige.ie).. (http://www.foroige.ie/ee/index.php/press_release/article/new_research_examines_attitudes_to_young_people)
“The survey shows parents come in for criticism when it comes to young people having troubled lives. 64% of people agree that young people wouldn’t get into trouble in the first place if they “had proper parental supervision”. Of those young people who do get into trouble the dominant perception is that these children do not have adequate supports, or positive experience, in their lives. The majority (82%) believe this is the case”(foroige.ie)..
Foroige have award ceremonies for young people “Permant tsb Foroige Youth Citizenship Awards”. These are posted up on their website www.foroige.ie. They have publications that can be downloaded for free. Most people won’t ever see these kind of articles because there not advertised. I only heard of Foroige when i started college.
“The ‘permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards’. The awards recognise the positive contributions young people make to society” (foroige.ie).
However if news reporters wanted to print positive news they could easily find plenty to report about.
All the stories in todays Daily Mail are negative stories about young people. These stories are re-enforcing the general public’s attitude i.e anti-social behaviour, violence, murder, drugs, claiming benefits, thieves. It is hard to get an unbiased opinion by reading the newspapers. These news story still have to be published but they could try and balance it out. These were the main stories, easy to find and had pictures on the links. You could miss them if you were scrolling down the page. There was no positive stories on young people.
This has a negative effect on communities. Old people fear young people and young people feel alienated.
We are looking in the wrong places for positive and accurate stories. If you type into google “do media report positive news about young people” you see that the general sites agree and sympathise with young people. It shows that most people under the age of 65 actually feel that young people are seen in a negative way. There is also links to newspaper articles and to blogs that are positive.
This is a blog written by Gemme Alliston, 21
“Young people are tomorrow’s leaders, offering fresh perspectives and energy as well as the willingness to learn. Yet the media often treat youth only as fodder for their next story, shoplifting or graffiti. Frequently, young people are misrepresented in media stories or are absent altogether. Therefore, stereotypes of young people being trouble makers who have little value to society are perpetuated, creating distance between youth and other groups in the community. However, the media have the ability to report positively on young people, celebrating their achievements and goals whilst still meeting their key aim of reporting accurately and fairly”.
Is the media good or bad ? I think it has the power to be both but its more profitable if they print negative stories. People respond to them. If the newspapers were filled with articles on teenagers winning awards then they wouldn’t sell. Although they do seem to be too negative. I think they should have the balance right.
Azteen magazine article
Videojug video link
Effects of alcohol blog
Daily Mail, article by andrew Levy