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How and Why Does the Mass Media Attempt to Define Youth Culture as a Social Problem?

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In todays society with a wide-ranging mix of complex issues, there are multiple cultures all developing with dominant values. This system is never homogenous; Instead, entails constant modifications and adaptions of dominant ideas and values (Brake 1985:6). The introduction to social media to the young has both a positive and negative effect on the growing culture. The convenience of enhanced communication means friends don’t have to be face to face to communicate. According to Lievrouw (2011:222), the rise of new media had led to shifts within communication. Kear (2010:31) argues that “a significant difficulty with online communication is that participants don’t always get a very good sense of other people in the group”. Although wonderful for keeping in contact with friends and family, it can be argued that this form of communication is developing an anti-social generation. In the present day, cyberspace has invaded the minds in public (Simmons 1995: 147). The media portrays that this form of cyber interaction, where we are limited, told what is trendy and popular and defines what is important in our daily lives. Stuart Hall suggests that, ideas are dependent on effects of the conclusively determining levels in the construction of society (Morley and Chen 1996:29). It could be said that this is the normal platform for social media to condition the minds of the youths and their way of interacting and general lifestyle today. Due to this, youths are struggling to comprehend and interact in the normal world and with real people. Brake (1985:6) defines youth culture as the way adolescents live, and the norms and values they share.

Youth culture is seen everywhere because it is the way that adolescents live their lives. Youth culture can be seen through the values, norms and practices people share or have in common. According to ACT Youth Culture (2019), culture is the shared symbolic systems, and processes of maintaining and transforming those systems. Youth culture is different from the culture that is involved or seen in the older generations because of the difference in age and how they have been brought up and what they have seen, and what they think is normal. Youth culture includes what we believe, how we behave, styles and fads and similar interests. Although youth is defined by culture, its greatest influence is social media because everyone these days use social media. Social media can define a whole culture by its own development and the use of the culture upon it. The more the youth culture feels that social media is important then the more power social media has in developing every aspect of the evolution on youth culture. We see this massively since the development in social media increased over the past 30 years. Never has a whole culture been so reliant on the interaction with social media to the extent of social behaviour and interactions changing massively. Everyone does simple things using social media instead of going into the real world to do the same things. Laziness is becoming more and more usual because you can do simple things like doing the grocery shopping on your phones and getting it delivered to your house.

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A showing aspect of the problems with social media is the way youths change, update and enhance their virtual profiles, trying to find consent and approval by their online peers. This triggers massive problems as the reality of themselves is dependent on how virtual people see them. They are removed from the everyday world and its realities and the virtual world grows more and more important as a new ideology form. The media presents the virtual world and its need for the youths to partake in it as they sell the much need communication and communication in which young people crave and enjoy. Overtime, youths have become so attached and used to having social media around, they think their lives would be very different without it. This has led to addiction of social media. Lessnoff states that ‘Man was born free; and everywhere he is in chains (1990: 108)’. Todays youth think its normal to check their phones the second their eyes open in fear of missing out on some event or just to reply and see what messages they have received. The more messages a person receives, the more valued and accepted they feel.

The social media controls and challenges the ideological meaning of the youth’s everyday life. McLellan (1986: 1) argues that ideology is the most unique concept in the field of social science and questions the originality of our most important ideas. In the individual within the collective, the virtual ideology and the realization of collective principles controls and constructs lifestyles. Jan Fernback illustrates ‘cyberspace as an arena of power (1997: 36)’. The amount of time a youth communicates in the virtual world, with not only their peers, but also at the forefront of ideology for the age group, shows the power and importance the youth feels social media has over them. Lessnoff states that ‘Man was born free; and everywhere he is in chains (1990: 108)’. Entertainment plays a vital role in ideological meaning and control within youth, as a cultural entity. Music as a brand of entertainment is perceived to have the ability to greatly impact its audience. Athique outlines that; audiences create particular structural forms in relation to the media around it (2013: 54).

The digital revolution has brought about a shift from a mass to a virtual society. Social media has led to youths trying hard to fit in and do what everyone else is doing, as well as seeking online approval by friends and peers. As a way of seeking friendship, youths engage in this platform. Social media present youths with the idea that, they do not need to go into the public for this purpose making youths social interaction skills go down. It does this by providing a wide audience for youths to interact globally at any time without making plans to catch up.

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How and Why Does the Mass Media Attempt to Define Youth Culture as a Social Problem? (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
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