Last year, the Youth Act team conducted some research on the negative porrtrayal of young people in the media. Our interest was sparked by what young people had been telling us and that was confirmed by the UN report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We were particularly interested in the impact that the negative portrayal might have on young people’s behaviour (specifically their political and social action).
Working across three London boroughs we surveyed over 300 young people and conducted 3 focus groups and we found evidence of a disconnect between young people’s views of themselves and the media, no surprise there but what was interesting was this:
- 71% of young people felt that they were most likely to be part of a positive news story
- 7% of young people felt that a positive news story reflected the way that young people behave
These figures show that a huge proportion of young people see their positive behaviour as ‘abnormal’ or ‘unusual’ showing that young people were buying into the negative stereotype as much as adults were.
The report raises a number of questions for practioners and policy makers and can be downloaded from