Teen boys feel demonised by newspapers, report finds

Some 85 per cent of teenage boys think the press portrays them in a bad light, according to a new report on teenage stereotypes.

The research, commissioned by the campaign group Women in Journalism and conducted by media research company Echo, interviewed a panel of almost 1,000 teenagers between 13 and 19 and also tracked coverage in local and national newspapers over a year.

The results were presented at a conference at the British Library in London this week, attended by 100 teenagers, who said they felt misrepresented by the press.

Women in Journalism is calling for a “shift in the way the media thinks about and talks about young people”.

According to the report, “yobs” and “thugs” were the two most popular ways of describing teenage boys. Other descriptions included “sick”, “feral”, “monsters”, “scum” and “evil”.

Zareena Asad, who led the research at Echo, said the press showed a preference for painting teenagers as hoodies and thieves.

“Some of the language used to describe teenagers is horrible,” she told Press Gazette.

Asad suggested that the media should focus on trying to find more good news about teenagers and should also report on some of the strides made in education.

Fiona Bawdon from Women in Journalism said more than half of the stories about young people were about crime.

“I’m not suggesting crime should not be reported, but there’s nothing positive to counter it,” she said.

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