Using material from Item C and elsewhere, assess the view that the mass media represent young people as a problem group (18 marks)

Topics: Sociology, Mass media, News media Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: February 25, 2014
Using material from Item C and elsewhere, assess the view that the mass media represent young people as a problem group (18 marks) Different age groups tend to be represented in different ways in the mass media. Children (up to the age of about 14) are often presented as consumers of toys and games, are generally presented in a positive light. However, the youth (from around the age of 15 to the early 20’s) are often portrayed as a ‘problem group’ in society, and as a major source of anti-social behaviour, particularly youth working-class, and especially African Caribbean, males. This is highlighted in Item C as it is encouraging the idea that the youth are being portrayed as a source of a lot of problems and crime in today’s society. Exciting stories and sensational headlines help to sell newspapers and attract TV viewers. The mass media often generate this excitement by creating stereotypes of young people as troublemakers, layabouts and vandals, and by exaggerating the occasional deviant behaviour of a few young people out of proportion to its real significant in society. For many people, the mass media provided the only source of information about events, and therefore, distort people’s attitudes and give a misleading impression of young people as a whole. This is brushed upon in Item C as in Item C it mentions that this labelling of young people brings in bigger audiences but only because of the fact that it is the only source of information. Old people, who tend to be more home-based, are particularly vulnerable to believing such stereotypes as their impressions are likely to be formed strongly by the media. Cohen (2002) argues that young people are relatively powerless, and an easily identifiable group to blame for all society’s ills. Consequently, young people, particularly young African Caribbean males, have often been used as scapegoats by the media to create a sense of unity in society, and uniting the public against a common ‘enemy’. As a result of...
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