America's Teenagers--Myths and Realities: Media Images, Schooling, and the Social Costs of Careless Indifference

Synopsis

The media's presentation suggests that American teenage culture today is the most violent, sexual, and amoral youth culture in history. In this book, Nichols and Good deconstruct the negative images held by large numbers of adults. Recognizing that many teenagers are left by adults to socialize themselves and the consequences of this "careless indifference," the authors' goal is to influence a more positive view leading to stronger social policies and better services, resources, and programs to meet the needs of America's youth.

Unique features of America's Teenagers--Myths and Realities: Media Images, Schooling, and the Social Costs of Careless Indifference include:

• powerful analytic lenses used to revisit typical depictions of youth;

• a wealth of information brought to bear on understanding teenagers' behavior; and

• consideration of a broad range of adolescent behaviors across critical socializing settings.

The book begins with a discussion of the continuing myth of adolescence--how and why youth are devalued, and an overview of current beliefs about youth drawn from two 1990s Public Agenda Polls. This is followed by chapters on youth and the media, and the pressures that youth face in various dimensions of their lives. Topics include youth violence; the sex lives of teenagers; tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and teens; healthy living and decision making; working teens; and youth and education. The concluding chapter pulls together themes generated throughout the book and provides examples of policies that would underscore the value of viewing youth as a social investment. General guidelines are provided for teachers, parents, policymakers, and citizens to facilitate responding to youth in meaningful, proactive ways that improve the quality of life for teenagers and the broader society.

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