The Stereotyping of Teenagers in the Media

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The drama series ‘skins’ is a good example of how teenagers are stereotyped. The programme depicts the characters as being vulgar, taking drugs, having sex and getting in violent situations.

Within the first episode Tony discusses plans for Sid to lose his virginity, Sid then buys drugs from a dealer at a brothel, the character Cassie overdoses at the party they go to and the group drive a car into a harbour. Throughout the running time there is strong language and vulgar terminology.

Whilst it may be the case that some teenagers do get up to these things, it becomes damaging to many young individuals when these stereotypes are widely accepted as reality.

This bad teenage image is aided by national newspapers and TV news. Often news stories involving teenagers are to do with crime, and teenagers rarely receive sympathetic coverage unless it involves them dying.

It can also be the case that teenagers attempt to be this ‘bad teenage stereotype’, thinking that they need to fulfil it - be it losing their virginity or trying drugs.

Whilst it is important to represent such issues on TV because it can deter a teenager’s curiosity – the programme ‘Skins’ rarely shows any negative consequence of taking drugs. Furthermore, the vulgar language can influence such behaviour in its viewers.

There are some shows and films that have represented teenagers on a more accurate and intimate level whilst still assessing such issues. The 2007 Australian drama ‘2:37’ follows the lives of several teenagers faced with controversial problems, and represents the emotional turmoil that they all face because of them.

However, such shows or films don’t receive the same attention as some of the more explicit depictions – most likely because the audience finds an unrealistic representation of teenagers more entertaining.
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