Researchers at UCLA conducted a study that revealed some very interesting findings. Conducted in July, it collected data from 662 teens aged 13-18 from all across the United States. 

It was trying to determine how many teens seek out and want aspirational content on television. Specifically, do teens want shows that glamorize rich, seemingly exciting, and glamorous  lifestyles.”

The answer was a resounding “no!”  In fact, only 4.4% of those in the study said they wanted that kind of content. What do kids this age prefer? 21% said content that grapples with real-world issues, family dynamics, social justice, and those types of subjects.  

Damn, we’ve come a long way since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Alf. 

Let’s hear from some of the experts at The Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA.

“Hollywood has built its Young Adult content on the belief that teens want to see glamorous lifestyles and rich & famous characters, but our research suggests the opposite is true. We know from this and our Race and Class in Teen TV study, the majority of teens feel isolated and upset when media lack accurate identity representations. This is an important change that Hollywood needs to take note of. American adolescents value media that reflects what they know about the real world, even while they prefer to see people that are different from themselves. Teens want their media to show a world characterized by genuine diversity, relatable characters and heartwarming experiences.”

At the top of the list of topics teens want to see are stories about people beating the odds.  They also like stories of people’s lives that differ from theirs. 

Digging deeper, the study found that 23.6% of teens want black male heroes, and 35% want white male villains. 

At the bottom of the list of content kids want to see are stories about partying, drugs, and drinking, and dead last was climate change. 

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