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The Influence of Friends and Family vs The Simpsons: Scottish Adolescents' Media Choices

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Learning, Media and Technology Volume 30, Number 1, ISSN 1743-9884


Increased emphasis on celebrity, and the growing cultural importance of the Internet, help drive continuing anxiety about the influence of the media on the young. Though recent empirical studies of celebrity and media influence on adolescents have produced mixed findings, there has been a tendency by researchers to test for celebrity and media influence on samples in a manner which precludes juxtaposing these influences with those produced by family, peer group, school, or within other "local" contexts. The media themselves continue to raise alarm about the impact of the Internet. An exploratory investigation was made of Scottish adolescents' media choices, using a widespread questionnaire-based survey of 427 secondary year-two pupils (13- to 14-year-olds) in 2002. This was a "scoping" study which will lead to further qualitative research, but it did produce evidence that parental and school influences remain strong. The influence of media personalities is visible in the responses but is comparatively weak. There is no evidence in the choices reported by the informants, in any of the media considered, of the salience of violence or sexuality. Much more common is interest in humour, in human relationships and personal drama, in sport and in science fantasy. The study notes in passing evidence of local cultural strengths and also considerable diversity, along with American and other global influences.


Robertson, J.W., Blain, N. & Cowan, P. (2005). The Influence of Friends and Family vs The Simpsons: Scottish Adolescents' Media Choices. Learning, Media and Technology, 30(1), 63-79. Retrieved July 17, 2019 from .

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