Portrayal Of Youth

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Exploring the Extent on How Young People are Portrayed in the Media as Criminals (Gang Violence)





Background of the Study1

Problem Statement2

Research Aims and objectives3

Significance of the Study4

Research Questions4

Outline of the Study4


Self-fulfilling Prophecy & Crime6

Evaluating Self-fulfilling prophecy as an Explanation for Crime7



Media as a Cause of Crime - Self Fulfilling Prophecy8

Research on Self-fulfilling Prophecy & Criminal Behaviour8

Media Portrayal of Youngsters in Gang Activities9

Image of Youngsters as Perpetrators of Violence in the Society9

Deviant Behaviour & Self Fulfilling Prophecy12

Gang Culture and Violence- Glamorisation by Media12

Stimulation of Moral Panic by the Media14

Reality & Self-fulfilling Prospects15

Major Criticisms15




This dissertation would focus on the portrayal of youngsters in the media and the ways in which such “broad perceptions” affect youth violence, whether it propels young people today towards offending and violent activities and affects their overall quality of life as they are now growing in a culture which believes the worst of them. Moreover, in order to understand whether media portrayal of youth gangs is exaggerated or a real problem in our society, thorough research will be conducted into the existing literature on the subject area as well as the 'insufficient' reactions of the government to curb such violence (Cox, 2011, pp 1-19). Even though youth gangs have existed since a long time, there has been little research in the United Kingdom regarding their current reasons. Thrasher was the first theorist who attempted to explain the relation between gang violence and media, by researching the slums of Chicago in the 1920's (Morash, 1983, pp 309). The depiction by media plays a vital role in determining the overall response of the public. If we closely analyze modern media, it is evident that youngsters are heavily influenced by the depiction of gang behaviour and criminal activities in magazines, movies and television shows. According to a report published by REACH, the main reason behind the involvement in gang and criminal activities is a definite lack of role models for the youth.

Background of the Study

The portrayal of youngsters as criminals in mass media is one of the most debated topics. Many studies have been conducted on the issue and the impact such portrayal has on the adolescent mind. In this study, we would attempt to highlight how the portrayal of youngsters as criminals induces violence and gang related behaviour. Most importantly, the tactics employed by media to glamorize the involvement of youngsters in gang activities would also be discussed with respect to our research questions. Various studies on the issue would be analyzed and discussed to enhance our knowledge on the topic.

The continuous depiction of gang behaviour and criminal activities in mainstream media is believed to induce gang behaviour in adolescents. Many studies have been conducted on the subject and contradictory results have been found. In our dissertation, we would attempt to uncover the underlying facts on the issue and how coverage of gang behaviour and crime by mass media affects the ...
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