UCLA Study Finds Teens Resoundingly Reject Aspirational Content On TV & Movies

Gen Z is not interested in aspirational stories in content to be consumed on TV or film. This is one of the key findings from a recent study by The Center for Scholars and Storytellers at UCLA.

The study (read it here), conducted in July, collected data from 662 adolescents, ages 13-18, from across the US. It found that only 4.4% of teens wanted to see aspirational content, storytelling about the world that teens wanted they were part of, such as getting rich, and living the type of life that is portrayed. gossip Girl and such. Instead, 21% said they want to see content that tackles real-world issues, such as family dynamics or social justice.

“Hollywood builds its young adult content on the belief that teens want to have glamorous lifestyles and see rich and famous characters, but our research shows the opposite is true. We see this and our race and our race in the Teen TV study. Know from the classroom, most teens feel isolated and upset when accurate identity representation is lacking in the media. This is a significant change that needs Hollywood attention,” said psychologist Yalda Uhls, PhD, Director of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers, who conducted the research, said: “American teens value media that reflects what they know about the real world, while they prefer to see people who are different from themselves. are different. Teenagers want their media to show a world characterized by true diversity, relatable characters and touching experiences.”

When asked to cast their own characters, more teens leaned toward a black male protagonist and a white male villain. The study found that 23.6% of teens want black male protagonists and 34.9% want white male villains, accounting for the majority.

According to most teens, social media is also the most popular place for authenticity. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed felt that social media works best at reflecting content that they find authentic.

According to the study, optimistic, uplifting stories about people who love to see their favorite subjects top the list of TV shows and movies.

Other findings: Stories about mental health are important to teens, ranking No. 4 on the list. LGBTQIA+ teens ranked mental health as one of their top two topics of content. Teens both older and younger want to see more stories about family life, including relationships with parents. Partying and/or drinking drugs and alcohol came in second and material about climate change came last.

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