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Teens and media - GATE W G A T E W A Y COOPERATIVE...

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As the parent of a teenager, you may be con- cerned with how various media affect your teen. Teens typically spend about 6 to 8 hours of their time awake with some type of media (television, radio, books, magazines, newspapers, tapes, or CDs). Most teens spend 2 to 4 hours watching TV each day, not including MTV! Sometimes teens focus on the media. Other times, it provides a background for other activities. For instance, music at parties is a background rather than a focus for teen activities. As your child moves through the teen years, his or her choice of media may change. Young teens watch more TV than older teens. As a teen’s TV watching starts to lessen, the use of music increases (radio, CDs, music videos) and the type of music preferred may change. Young teens often prefer more mainstream, top 40 music. As teens start high school, they choose a more narrow range of musical tastes. Music is an important form of media during the teen years. Ten- to 24-year olds make about two-thirds of all music purchases, while about one-third of all music stations target teens. Movie attendance also increases through the teen years. Most teens report that they go to movies at least once a month. With the popularity of home VCRs, teens report viewing video- cassettes an average of 5 to 10 hours a week. G A T E W A Y G A T E W A Y P A R E N T I N G I N T O T H E T E E N Y E A R S COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE U N I V E R S I T Y O F I L L I N O I S A T U R B A N A – C H A M P A I G N C O L L E G E O F A G R I C U L T U R E I s s u e 1 2 Teens and the Media
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2 Use of printed media also increases during the teen years. Most older teens report that they read at least some of the daily newspaper. Magazine and book reading also increases during this time, although at a slower rate. Each media form may serve its own purposes. Television watching is often something the whole family does together. Videotapes are often used as a context for social activities with other teens. Listening to music is an activity that teens often do alone, and it can be used to help them control their moods. Music also can be used socially, for instance, to create a party atmosphere. Each media type provides your teen with different experiences. Media play an important role in your child’s life. The time that your teen spends with a media source exposes him or her to a great deal of information. However, as with other information sources, there is great variation in what your teen attends to, how your teen makes sense of it, and what the impact may be on his or her life. For instance, tele- vision violence has a greater effect on white boys than on black boys. This is probably because many of the “good guys” in action-adventure shows are white males that these boys identify with.
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