News constructions of the relationship between teens and social media have significant implications for young people, write Susannah R. Stern, of University of San Diego, and Sarah Burke Odland, of University of Colorado Denver. The article investigates how news media constructed cultural understandings of teens’ relationship with social media.
The analysis covers 339 print and online news articles from 2013–2014. Results reveal that the stories consistently positioned teenagers and social media as at odds with one another and constructed social media as the dominant partner in the relationship. The news coverage emphasizes the dysfunction social media bring into teenage lives.
If news consumers are to understand the social media participation for teenagers, discourse about teens and social media must not begin and end with the concerns of adults, the authors claim.
The article “Constructing Dysfunction: News Coverage of Teenagers and Social Media” was published by Mass Communication and Society. It is available here.
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