Teenagers and the Media

Young people in the twenty-first century have become much more informed than any other generation before. They are exposed to much more uncontrolled information than young people previously. If teenagers read something in a magazine or see it on TV, they need only few clicks of the mouse to find detailed information on the matter. The Internet has opened unseen horizons for knowledge and information which is easy to access by all users, teenagers included. As a consequence, young people have become more demanding of the media content and the media is now competing to find more and more ways to attract audience attention.

The notion of media consists of books, TV, movies, music, Internet, radio, magazines and newspapers and probably more. The power of media is that it reflects values and also creates values. Values, in turn, lie at the core of the society and they change over time and media show it clearly. The changing values always impact on people and especially on young people.

The influence of the new media and sources of information, however, is always much stronger on young people that on adults. The decisions young people would take under such influence are more emotional and their choice often is not reasonable as would be the choice of adults. A TV advertisement for an aesthetic surgeon, for example, can soon become a questions and answers visit on the website of the surgeon. The next step could be a teenager going to the surgeon's consultation and even deciding for an intervention.

Reality shows are another powerful tool of influence on teenagers. Their format usually uses TV but Internet and Facebook also offer options for teenagers to watch reality programs. Television programs like I Want a Famous Face on MTV, The Swan, Extreme Makeover and Miami Slice in the United States are not just media shows, but can also become instruments to modify teenagers' points of view and understanding. Real World and Road Rules on MTV are among the top shows and attract many young watchers. MTV's impact on young people is seen not just like a music channel but like a relevant factor in shaping values for teens. Magazines like Teen People, Teen Cosmo and Teen Vogue in a way impose models to be followed by young people or promote ideas and standards which later will have an influence on young people behavior.

As a rule, media promotes fashion because what is modern and in fashion sells media products. Many things are modern but the list is always changing and while one thing gets old-fashioned, another comes to replace it. As media is far-reaching, teenagers always understand what is new and they demand it. They demand beautiful clothes, beauty products, even plastic surgery because to be good-looking is obvious in fashion. Media promote leadership ideas which point out that it is not enough to be just clever to succeed in career. Young people need to be wealthy, beautiful and powerful.

Undoubtedly, the most fashionable trend is to be in connection, to stay in touch, to be socialized. That's why social networks, with its mighty representative Facebook, have become the newest media with intentions to be the strongest source of influence. Its greatest fans are teenagers and young people. It is questionable how many hours a young person could spend on Internet, chatting with friends or just playing the game farm town. It is clear, however, that Internet addiction is arising as a problem with many teenagers being involved in recovery programs which try to cure them from their addiction.

Facebook and Internet are not necessarily the new media inherent evil. As long as teenagers prepare their home work and not lose interest on reading, exploring and creating, the new media is not greater evil than traditional TV and magazines. Moreover, when teenage years end, many young professionals during their university career and especially after that are required to be literate on media, Internet and social networks. Those new skills will not just help them but are often indispensable for goal-oriented people during their professional life.

The influence, however, is not one-way. Teenagers are also able to impact the media and its products. Young people demand and their abilities, which often exceed those of adults, shape new media trends in advertisement, entertainment or education. Their enthusiasm and interest lead to high technologies developing and the exploration of new domains. Teens are often the stimulus which creates contents, makes programs and sells products. A whole industry is working to find and determine young peoples requests and demands.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Children, Teens, Families, and Mass Media: The Millennial Generation
Rose M. Kundanis.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003
Kids and Media in America: Patterns of Use at the Millennium
Donald F. Roberts; Ulla G. Foehr; Victoria J. Rideout; Mollyanne Brodie.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Trends in Media Use
Roberts, Donald F.; Foehr, Ulla G.
The Future of Children, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media's Influence on Adolescent Sexuality
Jane D. Brown; Jeanne R. Steele; Kim Walsh-Childers.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Developmental Changes in Adolescents' Television Viewing Habits: Longitudinal Trajectories in a Three-Wave Panel Study
Eggermont, Steven.
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Vol. 50, No. 4, December 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Developing a Multi-Item Measurement Scale for Developing Teenagers' Involvement in Reality Television
Haq, Mohammad R.; Rahman, Syed H.
Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1, January 1, 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Adolescent Weight Preoccupation: Influencing Factors and Entertainment Media Exposure
Jacob, John; Yoo, Jeong-Ju.
Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Vol. 102, No. 2, Spring 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Music Videos and Sexual Risk in African American Adolescent Girls: Gender, Power and the Need for Media Literacy
Robillard, Alyssa.
American Journal of Health Education, Vol. 43, No. 2, March-April 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
America's Teenagers--Myths and Realities: Media Images, Schooling, and the Social Costs of Careless Indifference
Sharon L. Nichols; Thomas L. Good.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Youth and Media"
From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural
Lynn Schofield Clark.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Computers, Phones, and the Internet: Domesticating Information Technology
Robert Kraut; Malcolm Brynin; Sara Kiesler.
Oxford University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Part III "New Technology in Teen Life"
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