I need your help with a class project. Don't worry, I'm not going to experiment on you! But if you would kindly take a moment to answer the following questions, I'd be much obliged.
What are some words you would use to describe teenagers?
Inexperienced, self-absorbed. I don't mean those in a derogatory way, just a consequence of fewer years on the planet combined with still-developing brains.
How do you feel the media portrays teenagers?
Badly. Typically oblivious to consequences, prone to violence, hypersexual, conniving.
Do you think it is an accurate or an inaccurate representation?
Mostly inaccurate. While I do think, due to a combination of brain development and limited experience, teenagers often don't think out the possible outcomes of their actions, media portrayals are designed to show teenagers at their absolute worst, either by focusing only on the most extreme examples (like anything about teenaged criminals on Investigation Discovery), or through misreporting (like all that news crap about, what was it called, middle schoolers having "rainbow parties"), or through over-the-top fictionalizations (like the Law & Order: SVU episode about "rainbow parties"). It's all very, "Beware of teenagers, old person! They are weird and unknowable and will fuck you up!"
What are your impressions of teenagers?
That's a hard one, because I don't know any teenagers right now. A few years ago, when I was teaching freshman undergraduates, I thought they were, by and large, ill-prepared for college, but that wasn't their fault. A lot of them were coming in without a foundation of any sort in things like abstract thinking ability or writing ability (Christ, the memory of some of those essays still makes me cringe), but also, to their credit, a lot of them were able to pick up those tools, once given the opportunity.
A few years before that, I was a young substitute teacher, and the head of sub services strongly recommended that I only sub middle school, because I looked too young and she said high schoolers would, I think her phrase was, "eat you alive." She was completely wrong about that. High school students generally listened and treated me with a degree of respect or, at worst, indifference. Middle school students, on the other hand... All I can say is puberty is a sick joke forced on all of us by a cruel universe.
Do you feel like your impressions of teenagers in general are accurate for teenagers you know personally, or yourself if you are a teenager?
Like I said, it's been a while since I had any significant interactions with teenagers, but I don't imagine things have changed that much.
Do you think that media representation of teenagers influences your expectations and treatment of teenagers, or other people's expectations and treatment of you if you are a teenager?
No, I mostly see the media as trying, consciously or unconsciously, to set generations at odd with one another.
Thank you very much for your answers!
You're welcome! This was interesting.