Sunday, June 1, 2008

Negative teenage stereotypes


I'm sure that most people in our media class has been a victim to some sort of stereotype put on you by adults. Adults tend to think teenagers are; alcoholics and drug abusers, criminals, bludgers, lazy, complaining and aggressive, but no one ever tells us why we're seen this way. The stereotypes on teens are getting so bad, that a 1994 edition of Extra! Magazine says "Today's media portrayals of teens employ the same stereotypes once openly applied to unpopular racial and ethnic groups: violent, reckless, hypersexed, welfare-draining, obnoxious, ignorant."

So, if American and Canadians put so much stress on preventing racism, why do they turn around and stereotype people due to age? Isn't that the same thing?

Teenagers aren't the problem, ignorance is. The San Francisco Chronicle polled adults on how much crime they believe is caused by youth, in the end, the people blamed youth for 43% of violent crimes, yet FBI statistics show youths responsible for only 13% of violent crime, much less than the people surveyed thought. The worst part about this though, is the fact that 65 percent of the people polled said they get their perception of crime from The Media. So isn't it nice to know that all youth are being seen as criminals, or violent? The Chronicle also states "In reality, crime data show youth are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators. For every violent or sexual offense committed by a youth under 18 years of age, there are three such crimes committed against a youth by adults."

So who is really to blame for all the crime in the world?


Here are 2 videos showing a policeman in Hot Springs Arkansas violently attacking teenage boys, and a teenage girl, just for skateboarding.

And what became of all of this? The cop was cleared of ALL charges put against him, and the skateboarders had to appear in court.

As one boy quotes in the video "There's people out there robbing stores and selling drugs, and we're getting arrested for riding pieces of wood down the street." How do these people think they can justify attempting to choke a young boy and a young girl?

Another stereotype put on teens is that apparently we're all sexually driven, and all the girls are getting pregnant due to teenagers having too much sex. So if this is true, why does Extra! magazine report 71% of teenage mothers, have partners over the age of 20? In fact, men over 20 cause 5 times more pregnancies in junior-high girls than junior-high boys do, and 2.5 times more pregnancies in high school girls than high school boys do. Who's to blame for all of this? "
Even though many more pregnancies among teenage females are caused by men older than 25 than by boys under 18, media reports and pictures depict only high schoolers. By their choice of terms and images, the media blame the young and female while giving the adult and male a break."

Would it surprise you to know that the number one worry of teenagers is getting a good job, and the number one expectation is completing their education. Teens are also proven to hold jobs better than adults, 58% of teens hold their jobs, and 69% of teens regularly work around the house.

So, it really makes you wonder doesn't it? how bad can teenagers really be? I'm not saying all teenagers are nice people, but you can't find a single demographic of nice people. Focus your attention on something worthwhile, rather than expressing so much hate to the future leaders of the world.



lauren! said...

Teenagers without a doubt get stereotyped for being all of the things david mentioned; alcoholics, drug abusers, lazy, aggressive and so on. It’s truly unfair that a small number of people can create such a reputation for people of the same age.

What really irritates me are the signs on several store doors allowing only a specific number of teenagers in at a time. NEVER, have i seen a sign centering out adults or senior citizens. Its always teenagers you can’t trust, it’s always the youth who are bad.

I remember one day I walked into Blockbuster and was stopped at the front door and asked to hand over my bag. The staff member told me I couldn’t look at the movies with such a big bag over my shoulder. It wasn’t a backpack I was carrying, it was more of a big purse..but they still insisted on me handing it over. Although they thought they couldn’t trust ME with the bag, I myself wasn’t comfortable handing my bag over to complete strangers. I walked out of the store without looking at the movies and i haven’t gone back since.

With all of the teen drama series' available to watch on TV, people are assuming ALL teenagers act the way they do on the shows. I can think of several instances on both the OC and Gossip Girl, where teenagers steal and are rude to adults. Yes, in reality there are teenagers who act like that. But it’s not fair to group us all into that category!

Matt Dean said...

I am glad to see that Dave has picked a great topic because i get stopped at most places i visit just because i am 6'7 and they think i might steal or vandalise or do some shit to there store. I'm also constantly watched when i go to music stores or any other electronic store. Do i wear jackets or clothes that can conceal weapons or anything along those lines? I like how adults don't remember to a time when they were our age and if they do then they must have come from a fucking perfect little world of their's, because i don't think there has been a time where some one has stolen or cause trouble who was their friend or they did some things themselves.

Matt Dean said...

I also perpetuate a couple of sterotypes such as (drinking and smoking occasionaly, being lazy, i will be aggresive or violent if i have to. i'm not perfect no-one is i slip up once an a while.

DavidParker said...

So Matt, and everyone else if you perpetuate some of these stereotypes, what drives you to do it? do you do it because you don't think people will respect you anyways? you feel like it's expected of you? is it because of stress caused by these stereotypes? or peer pressure? I'd like to know

ah-leks said...

I went through a phase in 8th grade where i tried to be some punk rock princess, and the sad thing is I tried really hard to fit into that stereotype!
So maybe I was just looking for recognition or I wanted to "stand out", either way i had placed myself into a stereotype. but to this day i still stereotype people but not so negatively, I think i jsut to seperate people because it's less confusing when everyone is in one huge clique and there are various interests. Adults have stereotype issues too though, like it's probably alot harder for them because they are out in the real world while we are still in school, and no matter how big our world is to us it's nothing compared to whats actually out there. I know for a fact adults are stereotyped, take a look at Mean Girls. Regina George's mom is the ideal soccer mom.

I know alot of people who have mother's who do look young and fall into the young,hip, cool mom stereotype.

But yeah it really does bother me how teenages are sooo centered out, and it's like adults don't even care if they express taht concern rudely to us, especially when you're shopping or just BROWSING. They assume that "I'm just looking" means stealing.

kelsey =] said...

I agree with Aleks, I hate when I'm in a store just looking around, not sure if I'm going to buy anything and right away there is one of the workers watching me like a hawk. Or on convenience store doors it says only a certain amount of people allowed inside at one time, it's annoying! Why just teenagers? So many other people steal too, but for some reason we are the ones that are stereotyped the most.

We also get stereotyped for many other things like being alcoholics, drug abusers, smokers, not motivated in school and the list goes on. I'm sure all of us have had a couple drinks before, but that doesn't make us all alcoholics. It's not fair at all how much teenagers are stereotyped.

There are definitely some teenagers that steal, I know a few people that have stolen from stores before, but it doesn't mean that everyone has done it or will do it!

It's so true what Lauren said that because of the TV shows people automatically think that all teenagers are that way. For example, on gossip girl, the Hills, etc. So the media has a huge influence on people's perceptions of teenagers.

lauren! said...

matt and david bring up a good point: a lot of teenagers DO do a lot of the "stereotypical" things. like kelsey said, the majority of teenagers drink..but that doesnt make them alcoholics. and i also know teens who have stolen and done drugs..but they're not the only age group who does it!!

I find teenagers are going through the "experimental" years. We are introduced to soo many new things that we want to try, whether they are good or bad. For me, i believe the teenage years are perfect for this as we can blame our stupid actions on "being young". However, the unfortunate thing is thses actions are portrayed as much more dramatic and tragic than they actually are. stupid stereotypes!

LBurton24 said...

I feel that everyone only thinks that teen agers aren't alcoholics because they are smart enough not to drink on a weeknight. (exclude Friday). I think if there was no school the following day many people would be drinking a lot more than sometimes only twice a week..therefore making them in my opinion alcoholics.
But I do agree when lauren talks about the signs. I never see a sign having anything to do with senior citezens or adults. She also brings up another good point about the stereotypical tv shows.

After a movie one day, a few friends and I went into that grocery store in the Burlington plaza to stay warm. Just because we were walking up and down the aisles not buying anything, one of the workers followed us out of the store and said "next time you steal, try not to make it obvious." Not one of us stole anything and never would steal anything. Just because we were a group of teen agers we were suspects of thievery. The man working there was not exactly old himself. Maybe in his mid 20's. Felt like asking him when his mom was picking him up from work, but wouldn't have helped the situation much.

]ΛvΛЯіччΛ said...

I think David's totally right. If we're always talking about how racism and sexism is so wrong, why isn't ageism? I think the media is to blame for a lot of this. There are a lot of people who don't really know any teenagers in real life but they know TV teenagers. And on much of TV, teens with good morals aren't exactly the big thing. If the media reflected real-life youth in terms of the statistics in David's blog, people would probably have a more realistic view of this part of society.

So a more accurate view of teenagers probably wouldn't cause certain store owners to put up “only 3 teens allowed at one time” signs. When did it become OK to do that. Even if stores have had bad experiences with teens, that doesn't give them en excuse to judge all other teens the same way. What happened to “being prejudiced is wrong?” Would this fly if stores were putting signs at their doors saying say “only blank number of people of blank race allowed at one time?” In this day and age, absolutely not.

However, when you look back in history, in some situations blacks used to be treated in a similar way. For example, they couldn't go to th same places as whites e.g. schools and bathrooms, etc. The reason why this is a little similar to what we're talking about is because teens are being discriminated over adults whereas before it was blacks being discriminated over whites in terms of being allowed in certain places. My point is that the black-white situation has changed so much over time, so the teenage situation might also change for the better over time especially since we're addresing the issue.

ah-leks said...

I don't understand why adults have to stereotype us either, we get it enoyugh at school and from kids our age. Theres enough prejudice there, I know for a fact that parent's who are concerned about their child's safety are the first to stereotype. I'm not going to call my mom out but she's obviously done it before, but i think its almost a reflex for them. Teenagers must be pretty intimadating,but we still deserve to be shunned from society just because we aren't as "proper" as teens used to be back in the day. The whole teen part of life wasn't even payed attention to until the 60's and 70's, and after the baby boom from ww2.

tanja said...

i mean, i know stereotypes suck and all.. but is there really harm in taking a little precaution? a lot of times (like in crash) a store is really all a person has.. so they have A LOT to protect so if someone shady comes walking in i think they have the right to ask kindly for you to hand over your bad. i completely understand, as a teenager.. i'm really disgusted by some of the teenagers around here. and i've been stolen from, and it was by someone who looked and acted shady. in the gym class, there has been times where a girl has been snooping through girl's purses, tanya o's wallet even got stolen! and another girl's $800 professional camera also got stolen, and more! a lot of kids sort of self-stereotype themselves and thanks to them, we all get labeled. i was at a friend's party about a month ago, and a group of guys came and smashed her freakin window "for kicks". i mean and then they complain and make a fit when they get stereotyped. well maybe if you stopped acting like a little idiot, you wouldnt get steretyped in the first place.

Sonya!AtTheDisco said...

I agree that teenages are always getting stereotyped by adults. Me and my frined volunteer at a hospital abd there is this one sercurity lady who always gives us bad looks. Seriously, what are we gonna do? Steel cups and straws? They dont even know us and assume we are going to do something wrong. Grrrrrr....

]ΛvΛЯіччΛ said...

I sort of agree with Tanya about how store owners have a lot to protect, so they do have the right to ask you to hand over your bag nicely. To make it fair then, they should ask everyone to hand over their bags not just teens...cuz if it's just teens then they're discriminating

Harinder said...

Personally, I agree that teenagers get stereotyped by adults. Some people in the society do things that make others have the same reputation that they have. Alcoholics, lazy, smokers, stealers, drug abusers are some of the words that teenagers are stereotyped. I think that people stereotype teens is because we are at a young age and don’t really know what we are doing until we face the circumstances. It’s not always fair when teens are being stereotyped for the wrong things. Its like if he does it doesn’t mean I will.


Many parents really do have a negative stereotypical view of children of today’s society, but we shouldn’t blame parents for this. We do not realize that many parents have been through this during their time and period and they have had the chance to learn from their mistakes. Therefore, they don’t want to watch us go through the same things they might have back in their age time. Also on many channels on television and we walk through today’s society there are kids walking around smoking marijuana which is illegal and they tend to do it knowing this. Also watching many news channels make parents believe that most crimes are caused by teenagers as they go around causing commotion within the world. Also many children are the ones which are influenced by certain television shows that are shown by any broadcasting companies influence teenagers to do certain things.


Yes, I totally agree with Lauren about her explanation about these years that we are now in being experimental years because we are really introduced to new things in now a times ranging from drugs to electronic devices. However, we will have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and carry on this to our children as we will have the ability to teach them what is wrong and write because we have already have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Therefore, we should not be discouraged as we make mistakes but, will later have the opportunity to change ourselves.

kelsey =] said...

I agree with Tanja too that store owners have a lot to protect and that it is okay to take a little extra precaution. But if they only want two or three people in a time, it should be for all people not just "students" because people of all ages steal.

tanja said...

well i def. agree that instead of just teens getting their bags checked, adults should too. but i can fairly say that a lot of these stereotypes are true. half of the teens i know seriosuly drink every weekend, and once summer hits like every night, and they complain that they're broke because all their money was spent on weed and there are so many other activities that don't get reported on out of fear. and instead of stealing from stores, a lot of kids steal from eachother.. and these usually go unreported because standing up for yourself against a lot of kids could land you in trouble. thanks to the majority, the rest of us all get a bad name.

Cassandra chaos said...

i think dave is completely right. as is pretty much everyone else who left a comment. im a teen and i get soooo mad that adults and elders think we are terrible. and my mom gets amd when i disrespect adults, im like why should i respect them when they dont respect me ???

Moffat said...

I think that the media has played a big role in giving teenagers negative stereotypes. Also, I agree that stereotypes are unfairly associated with teenagers. Like the statistics stated in the story, adults are responsible for crime just as much, if not more than teenagers are. The media through TV, music, and advertising portrays teenagers as causing trouble. While this may be true for some circumstances, the media has generalized it much more than reality.