Media Images of Adolescents
By: Graham Duffell
Adolescence is the period of development stretching from approximately 10-13 years of age and ending at approximately 18-22 years of age (Santrock, 2005).
Within the field of developmental psychology there are many perspectives from which one may examine this developmental period. The sociocultural (inventionist) perspective views adolescence as a creation of society over time as society has come to construct adolescence in order to make it easier for youth to become earners for our capitalist society. Erik Erikson proposed an eight stage psychoanalytic theory that views each stage as facing and resolving a particular crisis and is known as the stage view of adolescence. The behavioural perspective is primarily concerned with environmental experience in the form of reward and punishment in response to behaviours that shape behaviour. The social learning perspective is also concerned with environmental experiences shaping of behaviour but also looks at an individual’s cognitive factors in their development. Finally, the ecological perspective looks at how an individual’s person, immediate environment, and further reaches of their society and culture interact with each other and affect development.
... view of society is that we influence each other's everyday social interactions. In contrast to functionalist and conflict perspectives, the interactionist perspective studies society ... a functionalist perspective is that people are socially molded, not forced, to perform societal functions. Order in a society, as viewed by a ...
Over a one-week period several articles related to adolescents were collected and examined to ascertain which perspective they pulled from, whether environmental or biological influences were emphasized, and to what extent the articles could be considered credible. Many articles were those describing the athletic achievement of youth and it is interesting, although not surprising to note that no other descriptions of achievement in other realms such as social or academic were found. The other articles, as to be expected describe various criminal and/or violent activities which youths either committed or were victims of. This reflects not only what is considered to be newsworthy, but also our society’s perception of youth and what we value in our youth.
In regards to youth athletic achievement, the majority of articles discussed these achievements in a very generic, superficial way (e.g., Ewen, 2011, Henry, 2011).
However, there were two articles which stood out as emphasizing a particular perspective in the athletic achievement of a youth. Ewen (2011) writes about a youth who has achieved success playing hockey that attributes the way he thinks about the game and his performance with having a positive effect on his performance. This illuminates how cognitive factors have played a role in his development, as touted by social cognitive theory.
Another article on young athletes is one which may be viewed from different perspectives. It looks at two young boxers who have recently competed in a match with each other in which there was no clear decision. They state that they have a lot of respect for each other and have the appearances of being very polite (Ewen, 2011).
This story emphasizes how polite and respectful the two fighters were of each other. It is one that praises their athletic achievement. These young men may be in Erikson’s identity versus identity confusion stage where they are seeking out who they are and what they are all about (Santrock, 2005).
Their role as athletes’ may lead to a positive life path if the experience helps them to form a positive identity. Additionally, as athletes are rewarded so positively in our society, their moving into the role of athlete is one that may have been precipitated by reward from family and society at large. Had they experienced much negative feedback for this choice of role, they may have chosen an alternative way to seek out their self-identity. This is in accordance with Skinner’s view in behaviourism (Santrock, 2005).
... the statistics, it is not right on its perspective and suggestions, as instead of condemning the ... and gets very exciting as it unfolds.”” The article quoting Shobhaa De’s opinion says, “Clothes ... and His purpose is the best motive! If Social Media is the cause of your Spiritual Malignancy ... V? Which Brand connects more with the Indian Youth Online?’, //socialyindia.wordpress.com 9. Sima Kotecha ...
Further, the individuals beliefs, plans, and ways of thinking interact with their environment and reward or punishment they may receive which may have shaped them into being the fighters they are today, talented, tough, yet polite and respectful. This is in line with social learning theory. Both the fighters would have been influenced on a variety of levels. Biologically they are gifted with the ability to develop the bodies that they have and the strength that allows them to become prize fighters. Their goals would have been shaped by their family and friends and others who are close to them, or in their microsystem. The social settings in which they find themselves will interact with the microsystem and also with the macrosystem, or their culture. If they were in a culture or social setting that did not condone this kind of athletic endeavor chances are they would have pursued other interests.
Many of the articles may be viewed from more than one perspective, but most strongly emphasized one or another. An article that may be viewed from the inventionist perspective relates how an 18 year old male suffered serious injuries after a pipe bomb he was playing with exploded. In this article the youth’s mother says that although he was a little difficult as a child he is basically a good kid and felt very remorseful about what happened (Pipe-bomb lad, 2011).
This article touts the victim of the pipe bomb explosion as basically being a good kid who simply went too far this time and that he deeply regrets his actions. This article expresses the notion that this may be typical behaviour for a teenager, reflecting on how society has invented and defined “teenager”, taking an inventionist perspective.
Another article examined fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) affected youth and a study which indicates that they need help past the age of 19 in order to be better adjusted and more successful in their lives. There is a call for BC government assistance to continue until age 24 instead of being cut off at the age of 19 as is the current situation (Spencer, 2011).
... thought of as a novelty. Works Cited Day, Paul. “Interest in Rainwater Harvesting Grows in Colorado. ” CBS4Denver. com ... can be used without harming water rights. It interests me a lot because if we’re going to ... The article entitled “Interest in Rainwater Harvesting Grows in Colorado” written ... impaired thinking, and changes in mood. The last article entitled “The Big Green Giveaway” by Tony Milney ...
This article shows how ecological theory can account for some of the development of youths affected by FAS. Their microsystems are very much affected by the exosystem in which they live. The way that the two interact in the mesosystem can have a profound effect on their future development. This article claims that there is a need for increased support until the end of their adolescent developmental period which will help these individuals be better prepared for adult life.
Another interesting article that can be viewed from the ecological perspective describes two college students, aged 20 and 21 years, who were charged with trying to break into a stadium. They raised suspicions that initially had the FBI suspect them of terrorist activity, but as it turns out they were just pranksters. They were trying to sneak into the stadium so that one of the youths could film the other for a homemade music video. They received an unusually high bail because their actions trigger a response from federal, state, and city officials (Stadium break-in wasn’t terrorism, 2011).
This article is interesting in that it reflects how the youth’s microsystem has interacted with their exosystem and macrosystem. Unfortunately for these two they live in a society that is very wary after the attacks on 9-11. In another setting the penalty for their action would most likely be substantially lighter. The exosystem appears to have taken precedence over the macrosystem, since on a cultural level their actions may have been attributed to “boys being boys” and been seen as basically harmless. However, due to the societal reaction to and fear of terrorist attacks, these cultural norms have been superseded.
There was an article describing how an 18 year old male had burned down a store on Halloween night and had been charged with arson after turning himself into the police. It was noted that the police suspected that alcohol and peer pressure played a part in the crime (Habdank, 2011).
This article shows how environmental influences are primarily blamed for this teen’s behaviour. A youth in the identity versus identity confusion stage posited by Erikson may be particularly vulnerable to peer pressure. This may lead the youth to explore his possible roles in a negative way. However, if he is punished for his behaviour, according to Skinner’s behaviourism theory, chances are he will learn to not repeat this behaviour (Santrock, 2005).
... and its organisation and structure may have significantly influenced the youth suicide rates in Australia. Family type consisting of wife, ... family decline. The phase of increasing youth suicide firmly corresponds to the high youth unemployment Rates. The increase in prevalence ... uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond ...
Many of these articles may be examined from different perspectives but there was one article which provided a rich example of this. In this article the phenomenon of suicide among Japanese youth was examined and specifically reported on the suicides of two young teens who killed themselves in respons3 to bullyi8ng that they were experiencing (Letter warns of suicides, 2011).
This article can be examined from several perspectives and is interesting in that it deals with the issue of teen suicide in a cultural context other than the one most familiar in Canada. In context of development many different perspectives can be taken in regards to the information that this article presents. From the ecological perspective one can see how the youth’s biological make-up may have predisposed them to depression and suicidal tendencies. The eventual suicides may have been reflected in their mesosystems, how their microsysetm interacted with their macrosystem that is how their family, peers, school and neighborhood interacted with their culture. Culture is especially interesting here as in Japanese culture a high emphasis is placed on the collective society as well as achievement. It may very well be that students are under more pressure to achieve than are students in Canada. The article states that Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates which begs the question to be asked as to why that is, and leads one to believe that it must be a societal or cultural factor that is contributing to this high suicide rate. Social cognitive theory presents the idea that the way that they youth thinks interacts with their environment. Most notably in the context of this article, is the importance of a youth’s self-efficacy or believe that they can change the situation to produce a positive outcome. It is obvious that the youth in this article did not have this as they saw no other way out of the situation than to kill themselves.
With the exception of the stories of adolescent’s athletic achievement, most of the stories focused on environmental factors that influenced the development of these individuals. Although the article on the youth with FAS is obviously stating that there is a biological influence, it is concerned with how the environment can moderate biological factors for a more positive outcome for the affected individuals.
... John Kellmayer "Students in Shock," he explains what is causing ... many college students miserable? These days more students than ever are experiencing intense emotional problems; some even commit suicide. From ... one, and intense pressure on students. First sign of "Student Shock" is first year students who are not prepared for ...
News reports always have potential to be biased. It could be as simple as the reporter having a personal interest in the issue they are reporting on or inaccurate information sources. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate (e.g., Kassin, Tubb, Hosch, & Memom, 2001) and this is often what journalists rely on as an information source. Also, for example, if a journalist has previously been a victim of a violent crime they may be more likely to paint the picture in a very negative light, more so that it should be, if it is concerning a similarly violent crime.
Austin, I. (2011, November 8).
Driver oblivious to right of way. The Province, p. A24.
Bell, T. (2011, November 8).
Up for the challenge. The Province, p. A52.
Canadians want to help. (2011, November 10). The Province, p. A57.
Ewen, S. (2011, November 8).
Scouts can take a bow. The Province, p. A55
Ewen, S. (2011, November 14).
Rough, tough, respectful. The Province, p. A55.
Ewen, S. (2011, November 14).
Up the charts, and loving it. The Province, p. A53.
Habdank, J. (2011, November 14).
North Van teen charged with arson. The Vancouver Sun, p. B3.
Henry, K. (2011, November 14).
VMFL star off to Washington State. The Province, p. A50.
Kassin, S. M., Tubb, V. A. , Hosch, H. M., & Memon, A (2001).
On the “general acceptance” of eyewitness testimony research. American Psychologist, 56(5), 405-416.
Letters warn of suicides, 2 bullied students kill selves. (2011, November 14). The Province, p. A30.
Montpetit, J. (2011, November 6).
Students’ detention helped cut short rampage. The Province, p. A22.
November a sad time for Virk family. (2011, November 14). The Province, p. A14.
Pipe-bomb lad ‘feels like idiot’. (2011, November 6). The Province, p. A11.
Player shot dead. (2011, November 8). The Province, p. A54.
PoMo cops review Delta police probe into youth’s death. (2011, November 6). The Province, p A13.
... to make this social presentation of self possible” (Ewen 194). Ewen concludes that African Americans have had little opportunity to ... class defined almost exclusively, by patterns of consumption”(Ewen 187). Ewen finally makes his point in defining the American ... own comfort and status. Equating democracy with consumption” (Ewen 187). Ewen recognizes that “Mass production, according to this outlook was ...
Santrock, J. W. (2005). Adolescence (10th ed.).
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Spencer, K. (2011, November 14).
Fetal alcohol syndrome victims need more help. The Province, p. A12.
Stadium break-in wasn’t terrorism. (2011, November 8). The Province, p. A48.