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The Media’s Portrayal of Teenagers is So Not Cool

Today, the BBC published an article about teenage stereotypes as depicted in the media, and it got our office buzzing. Statistics show that teenagers claim the media’s portrayal of youth culture affect their chance of getting employed.

Demos surveyed six different UK newspapers over the last 10 years to see which words were used most frequently in depicting teens. And those three terms were? (Drum roll on your keyboard please…)

Binge-drinking. Yobs. Crime.

070410171611--Marius Goubert reports from Bristol weekend binge drinking frontline

Well no wonder teens feel like their reputation keeps them from getting a job. Those aren’t words employers would be too keen to read on a resume, and the media is not helping by reemphasizing that stereotype.

Young people are also criticised as lazy & lacking in political and social engagement. Clearly, there isn’t enough media coverage on the vast amount of teens who are actively engaged to reinforce a positive image. Really, media- we can’t (or don’t!) get enough of Malala Yousafzai!

Okay, while Malala is an extraordinary example of youth activism, young people in general also deserved to be recognized. Today, activism lives in youth by the palm of their hands… via smartphone. Social media has become the primary outlet teens rely on to address their voice on social issues. This is the digital generation, don’t people know that by now? Phones aren’t just used for games anymore.

These days, you can donate money with a simple text message. That means you don’t even have to get up and get your wallet or go to the ATM. Think about it this way: that actually saves more time, so us teens can continue to be the engaged, informed citizens we are.

You can read the BBC article here, but we want to know what you guys think! Do you think the media portrays teens negatively? Or do we live up to the stereotype? Tweet us @Latimergroup

By Annie Sizemore, CAPA Intern