Representations of age
Media representations of different groups of people based on age (i.e. children, adolescents and the elderly), also generalise and categorise people on the basis of stereotypes.
British children are often depicted in the British media in positive ways. Content analysis of media products suggest that eight stereotypes of children are
frequently used by the media.
- As victims of horrendous crimes – some critics of the media have suggested that White children who are victims of crime get more media attention than adults or children from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- As cute – this is a common stereotype found in television commercials for baby products or toilet rolls.
- As little devils – another common stereotype especially found in drama and comedy, e.g. Bart Simpson.
- As brilliant – perhaps as child prodigies or as heroes for saving the life of an adult.
- As brave little angels – suffering from a long-term terminal disease or disability.
- As accessories – stories about celebrities such as Madonna, Angelina Jolie or the Beckhams may focus on how their children humanise them.
- As modern – the media may focus on how children ‘these days’ know so much more ‘at their age’ than previous generations of children.
- As active consumers – television commercials portray children as having a consumer appetite for toys and games. Some family sociologists note that this has led to the emergence of a new family pressure, ‘pester power’, the power of children to train or manipulate their parents to spend money on consumer goods that will increase the children’s status in the eyes of their peers.
There are generally two very broad ways in which young people have been
targeted and portrayed by the media in Britain:
1) Media as socially constructing Youth's lifestyle and identity:
- There is a whole media industry aimed at socially constructing youth in terms of lifestyle and identity.
- Magazines are produced specifically for young people.
- Record companies, Internet music download sites, mobile telephone companies and radio stations all specifically target and attempt to shape the musical tastes of young people.
- Networking sites on the Internet, such as…