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Teenager wants to make own choice about (potentially) harmful content

W hen it comes to the media-education of adolescents, parents play a significantly smaller role than with younger children. The Kijkwijzer rating system, too, is not used as much by teenagers. How do they make their choices when it comes to media, what is their experience of risk behaviour on film and tv, and what information about potentially harmful media-behaviour do they want?

Audience research shows that adolescents long for autonomy in their choices of media, and that this autonomy is given to them by parents. They want to make their own decisions about the harmfulness of content.

The 4 most important insights:

  1. The teenager's choice for a certain film or series is mostly based on the type of film, their own mood and whether the production is being watched together or alone - scary content is avoided when watching by themselves.
  2. Whether adolescents recognise the negative consequences of risk behaviour is dependent upon the production's context and their own experience. If the risk behaviour is placed in a humorous context and the teenager has no experience (yet) with this kind of behaviour, the negative consequences of said actions are not recognised as such. The risk behaviour has a more dissuasive effect when it occurs within a dramatic context.
  3. Despite the fact that adolescents want to watch more intense and impactful content, they can sometimes experience regret afterwards. Watching certain intense films or series will make them feel mostly negative emotions, such as anger, sadness and frustration. With girls, especially, these feelings can linger.
  4. Teenagers want to make their own informed decisions about the harmfulness of their choices in media. They want to know more than simply whether they are of the right age. They want Kijkwijzer to communicate clearly and to support their autonomy.

What did we use these insights for?

This audience research contributed to Kijkwijzer's expansion of the (teen) age categories. Furthermore, Kijkwijzer will be turning into a tool: instead of a cautionary role, Kijkwijzer wants to play an informative and participatory role in the lives of children, adolescents and parents.

About this research

Young researchers at the Radboud University invited 29 adolescents (14-18 years old) for group interviews in groups of at least 4 participants. The themes that were discussed related to, respectively, their information needs and their experience of risk behaviour on film and tv.

Want to read more?

+ Parents want to make own conscious decision about adolescent's media use

Published: May 17 2020