Skins: The Evolving Portrayl of Teenage Drug Use on Television

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As a young person, seeing the media portray the the youth “party culture” and experiencing this culture is quite different. Media portrayal of drugs is often glamorous, and though teens are educated on the dangers of drug use, they are still impressionable and as a result susceptible to mimicking such behaviors. The opportunity to see these cultures first hand in two different countries is very fascinating. At sixteen years old, I spent a summer abroad in Europe, and saw firsthand youth immersed in these situations. While at a convenience store in the college town that is Hatfield, England, I witnessed a girl who was nowhere near legal alcohol purchasing age (even for Europe) being sold alcohol without any identification. I was quite surprised. A situation like this would definitely not happen in the United States, as attitudes towards youth with drugs and alcohol are generally negative. As an avid watcher of British teen dramas, I had seen these types of “European situations” depicted on television but never actually thought them to be true, or to have a distinguishable effect on the urban youth of today. This has led me to constantly wonder the connection between media representation of drug and alcohol consumption by young people and their actual drug and alcohol consumption in two very different cultures that speak the same language. In this document based essay, I will attempt to analyze what academics believe about television’s representation of drug use and its effect on the youth of the current century. Focusing on the television show Skins, produced both in the United States and the United Kingdom, I will use this information to compare and contrast the depiction of illicit consumption by young people in both the Unit... ... middle of paper ... ...s. "Tony." Skins US. MTV Networks. MTV, Toronto, Canada, 17 Jan. 2011. Television. Estes, Mark O. "Skins UK vs. Skins US: An Analysis." UK vs. US: An Analysis. TV Over Mind, 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. . Gerbner, George. "Drugs in Television, Movies, and Music Videos." Media, Sex, Violence and Drugs in the Global Village. Cullompton, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. 69-76. Print. Males, Mike. ""Alarming" CASA Linking Teen Social-Media, TV Watching, and Drug/Alcohol Use May Have Been Rigged." Youthfacts, 23 Aug. 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2012. . Rickman, Dina. "Ketamine Reality." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 01 Apr. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. .

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