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

717 Words Feb 19th, 2014 3 Pages
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.
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There are generally two very broad ways in which young people have been targeted and portrayed by the media in Britain. There is a whole media industry aimed at socially constructed youth in terms of lifestyle and identity. Magazines are produced specifically for young people. Record companies, Internet music download sites, mobile telephone companies and radio stations all specifically target and attempt to shape musical tastes of young people. Networking sites on the internet, such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, allow youth to project their identities around the world. Youth are often portrayed by news media as a social problem, as immoral or anti-authority and consequently as folk devils as part of a moral panic. The majority of moral panics since the 1950’s have been manufactured around concerns about young people’s behaviour, such as their membership of specific ‘deviant’ subcultures (e.g. teddy boys, hoodies) or because their behaviour (e.g. drug taking or binge drinking) has attracted the disapproval of those in authority.
Wayne et al. (2008) conducted a content analysis of 2130 news items across all the main television channels during May 2006. They found that young people were mainly represented as a violent threat to society. They found that it was very rare for news items to feature a young person’s perspective or opinion. They note that

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