Media Usage Among Adolescents

Adolescence is defined by independence and autonomy from one's parents and family. They spend more time with their peers and expand their social contacts beyond the household. Communication, social engagement, and relationship development are all aided by media technology (internet, messengers, WhatsApp, and so on). Even after returning from school/college, teenagers communicate with friends from school/college or distant friends via social networking sites or mobile phones. This continual touch creates a sensation of co-presence, of being in a virtual environment with others. People can join social networking sites and invite others who share their interests.

Media Usage in Adolescents

Two billion young people under 18 make up around one-third of the world's population. They constitute half the population in the least developed countries and fewer than a quarter in the most developed countries. While an increasing number of youngsters enjoy greater freedom in many nations, others face escalating health and social issues ranging from extreme poverty and civil conflict to substance addiction and sexually transmitted illnesses, political unrest, and warfare.

Since today's youth has more access to numerous multi-media outlets such as traditional, satellite, and cable TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines, the internet, and computer and video games, the variety of programs has grown exponentially. As a result, the types of media that are popular and accessible to teenagers and their impact are becoming increasingly important.

The Nature of Media Consumption in Adolescents

In recent decades, young people's media alternatives have expanded. However, there is a general lack of high-quality programming for kids and children. Most nations have a restricted selection of programs or material, and a considerable portion of media content is exported from other countries, with much of it, such as animated programs and programs involving violence, manufactured in such a way that it may appeal to as many cultures as possible. There is a severe paucity of coverage of teenagers in the news, and what little coverage there is frequently depicts children in the context of sensationalist themes, such as child abuse, exploitation, and violence, with little regard for the dignity and privacy of young people to speak for themselves.

When they are represented as shallow, indifferent, poor, or delinquent, they feel alienated and underserved by the media. Young people's media options have grown in recent decades. There is, however, a widespread paucity of high-quality programming for children and youngsters. Most countries have a limited range of programs or material, and a significant amount of media content is exported from other countries, with most of it, such as cartoon programs and violent programs, designed to appeal to as many cultures as possible. There is a serious lack of coverage of teens in the news, and what little coverage there are typically presents youngsters in the context of sensationalist topics such as child abuse, exploitation, and violence, with little consideration for young people's dignity and privacy to speak for themselves.

The fundamental themes of television and media are consumerism and materialism, and through these, teenagers learn about the newest trends. However, materialistic people promoted through the media, for whom money, fame, power, and good looks are the most important things, becoming idols to be emulated by adolescents is cause for concern for society, as too much materialistic approach is the cause of various psycho-social problems such as depression, high levels of anxiety, various types of physical aches, insecurity, broken relationships, and so on.

Portrayal of Adolescents

Adolescents are not portrayed realistically or kindly in the media. Most of them believed that through viewing media, consumers might be led to believe that kids committed more crimes, crimes of equivalent magnitude to those done by adults, and crimes at a younger age than adults. Such coverage is misleading and provocative. It can potentially sway public and political opinion in favor of repressive rather than preventative and educational responses to rising violence in many nations. According to studies, more than half of 600 respondents felt tales about young people were bad, and just 18% could recall good stories after a year.

Youth are frequently portrayed as perpetrators of crime in news reports, but they are rarely reported as victims of crime. For every violent or sexual offense committed by a minor under 18, three similar offenses are perpetrated against a minor by an adult. Teens are portrayed in the media as being contemptuous of elders. Teenagers, for example, are portrayed in ads as individualists who are opposed to any authority (parental or otherwise) that tries to interfere with their self-expression. In reality, people are unlikely to respect individuals who disobey the rules. Contrary to common opinion, people over the age of 26 accounted for 95% of drug-related deaths in 1994, according to a US drug abuse warning network report.

Impact of Media on Adolescents

Many parents, educators, academics, and policymakers worldwide are concerned about the dearth of quality media material for children and young people and the impact of low-quality entertainment, including violence, sexual content, and negative role models. Adolescents are big consumers of sex, violence, and substance abuse content in media, and continual exposure to such information influences young people's minds and attitudes and might drive them towards it. Young people have also spoken about media's influence on their lives and how it influences their thinking and behavior.

Young people cannot escape the clutches of media attempting to influence their life; they are seldom able to place statements provided in media into context and utilize their critical analytical capacity to discern between the reel and the real. It has a hypnotic effect in most situations. Adolescents' sexual views and behavior are influenced by sexual content in the media, which can lead to sexual engagement. Whether from rural or urban backgrounds, girls and boys believe that today's media, including newspapers and news channels, is not playing a good role.

They give and present information in such a way that the message they are attempting to communicate becomes ambiguous and misleading. There is a lot of drama and sensationalism going on. Most teens feel that media has a huge impact and influence and that media and media people must act responsibly. Almost 92% of teens reported being confused and unsatisfied with the media. Almost 17% said that the media exacerbated negative emotions by depicting frequent drug and alcohol usage.


Adolescents are getting confused about their values and have formed a distorted understanding of right and wrong and human connections. They are big consumers of media content that is laden with sex, violence, and drug addiction, and repeated exposure to such information has an influence on young people's minds and attitudes, perhaps pushing them towards it. Rarely can they put messages in media into context and apply their critical thinking skills to discriminate between the reel and the real. It has a hypnotic effect in most situations. Adolescents' sexual views and behavior are influenced by sexual content in the media, which can lead to sexual engagement.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023


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