Snapshots of Today’s Youth Culture
Youth For Christ Portland
It always amazes me how much the youth culture changes and how frequently it happens. The changes are often motivated by the ever increasing influence of media. Take a look at how media influences teens:
Media/Technology Controls Teens
• In General: Let me remind you of our first statistic: Media became a top 3 influencer of teens by 1990 and today is the #1 influencer of a teenager
• In General: Average Teens are exposed to 8 hours and 33 minutes of media content per day and cram that content into 6 hours and 30 minutes time. That means they spend 45.5 hours a week in use of media . . . more time than they spend in the classroom. More time than they probably spend with their friends or anything else.
• TV/Music: MTV became a cultural force in the lives of youth since its inception in 1981 (when it reached 1.5 million homes), and its presence has continued to scream at youth today (it now reaches over 500 million homes). Dancing in the Dark, calls it “one of the most powerful forms of contemporary propaganda.”
– MTV’s founder and Chairman Robert Pittman was quoted saying, “at MTV we don’t shoot for the 14 year olds, we own them.”
– MTV ran a back page advertisement shortly after their 10 year anniversary in an advertising magazine targeted at marketers which said, “Ever hear anyone refer to the NBC generation? MTV is not a TV channel. It’s a cultural force. People don’t watch it. They live it. MTV has affected the way an entire generation thinks, talks, and buys. No other network can say that.”
• Social Networking: Today, MTV gets its strongest competition from Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like . . . social networking is music, pictures, images, blogs, and more all at once!
• TV: 68% of teens have a television in their own room. The average household in America has the television turned on for 8 hours and 11 minutes per day.
• TV: Over the course of a year, the average child spends 900 hours in school and almost 1,023 hours in front of TV.
• Movies: Moviegoers between the age of 12 and 29 represent more than half of all theatrical admissions (57%).
• Magazines, Books: 11-14 year olds spend an average of 15 minutes with magazines, 5 minutes with the newspaper, and 21 minutes with books. 15-18 year olds spend 13 minutes with magazines, 7 minutes with newspapers, and 24 minutes with books.
• Video Games: 83 percent of 8-18 year olds have a video game console at home. 56% have more than one console at home. 49% have one in their own room. 55% have an online video game account.
• Computer/Internet: By the end of 2005, 86% of all 8-18 years olds lived in a house with at least one computer. 74% of those homes had internet access.
• Computer/Internet: 87% of all teens 12-17 use the internet.
• Cell Phones: By the end of 2005, almost half of all 10-18 year olds had a cell phone, representing a market value of 10.7 billion dollars. On average a teenager gets his/her phone at age 14.
• Wrap up: It is easy to see that the media/technology is the strongest force at implanting lyrics, images, and lifestyles on the brains of searching adolescents.
So what does this all mean?
• Kids relate to each other differently now than we once did . . . for example, teens don’t immediately look to hang out after school (Face Time), they often report to the nearest computer/TV/cell/ipod to communicate, explore, listen and write.
• Kids are alone more, and seem to like flying solo more often . . . which leads to greater autonomy and less accountability in their life.
• Text vs. Talk . . . 9 times out of 10 if you need to chat about something important you are going to call them . . . but today’s teens are more and more apt to text instead.
• Social Networking and Blogging are changing communication . . . almost every teen has found Facebook . . . and they will record almost anything there. Most teens write their thoughts, feelings, hurts etc. in a very open place but still feel like it is private. Their disclosure habits are unique.
• Pornography is a growing problem:
– There are at least 420 million pages of pornographic material on the internet
– The internet pornography industry in the US generates 12 billion in annual revenue (57 billion worldwide) – larger than the combined revenue of ABC, NBC, and CBS.
-The age group that views internet pornography the most is between 12 and 17.
Internet is becoming another addiction among young people
Follow Up Point – Globalization of Teenage Population
• I will keep this one brief – but for the first time we are becoming a culture (especially within America) that looks, talks, and acts the same within the youth culture specifically.
• Imagine you visit an 8th grade boy in three different cities: Sacramento, CA; then Lincoln, NE; and finally Philadelphia, PA . . . it surprises you but each boy that answers the door looks, acts, and talks pretty much the same. And it is because they spend time seeing, hearing, and visiting the same exact media offerings each day – idea from Youth Culture 101.
• “Immigration, emigration, increased mobility, transportation advances, economic opportunity, and the pervasiveness of the global media machine have brought about a major shift in the makeup of neighborhoods, communities, and schools.” “Our kids and teenagers urban, suburban, and rural communities increasingly reflect the multicultural and multi-ethnic flavor of the world.”
• More and more, youth culture (in America and around the world) looks very similar across the entire country – Especially in more urbanized locations.
Yours for Kids,
Fred W. Douglas Jr
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