Influence of Mass Media on Teenagers

Mass media plays a significant role in today’s world. It broadcasts informationas fast as possible as well provides entertainment to massive audiences. Mass Media comprises of press, television, radio, books and the Internet. Media is one of the most influential aspects of our lives. By creating a certain type of message, media can manipulate people’s attitude and opinions. Over the years, as technological advances have taken place this type of communication has become very easy and feasible to have. Almost every household now owns an internet connection, television or a cell phone etc. This has led to a widespread usage of mass media, especially among the teenagers.

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The fact that there was a time when the internet, television and cell phones were considered a necessity but now they seem to be more of a commodity teenagers seem addicted to pretty much explains that there is bound to be a downside to the influence mass media has on teens. The teenagers of today seem too engrossed in watching their favourite shows on television or using social media applications on their phones or computers that they are slowly losing touch with reality. They have become addicted. There are many consequences to this unhealthy addiction. One becomes lazy and does not feel the need to get up and do something productive. It leads to obesity and tiredness. It also leads to unhealthy consumption of junk or fast food. I say this from my personal experience, as I always feel the need to have pizza or chips along with a beverage when I’m watching a show or a movie. Teenagers also tend to spend hours over the internet interacting with strangers who could pose as a threat as it is easy to fake an identity over the internet. They would very much prefer using Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr etc. instead of studying or doing an outdoor activity. Therefore, this addiction can be very destructive. “A cross sectional study was carried out in Spain in 2003 to define mass media use in teenagers (television, mobile phones, computers, Internet and video games) and to examine its influence on teenagers’ health and development. The data collected was based on a sample of 884 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 years. The sample was retrieved from high schools residing in six towns in Cantabria (Spain). The results showed that all adolescents had a television at home and 24% of the families owned four or more TV sets. The presence of mass media in teenagers’ rooms was 52.5% for TV sets, 52% for the internet, 57.8% for computers, and 38.7% for gaming consoles. The most frequently found media in their’ bedrooms were cassette/radio players and compact disks with percentages of 76.8 % and 67.4 %, respectively. Furthermore, teenagers spent on average 3 hours on television on weekdays and 3.2 on weekends. They spent 0.69 hours on average on weekdays and 1.09 hours on the weekend. On internet they spent on average 0.83 hours on the weekdays and 1.15 hours on the weekend. Other results of the study showed that about 87.2 % of the teenagers owned a cell phone. The average age at which they got their first phone was 13 years old. Almost half the teenagers (46.4 %) took their mobile phones to high school and reported that they had an average of three mobile phones at home. Also most of them (82.1 %) surfed the internet but boys preferred surfing and downloading games whereas girls preferred chatting and sending e-mails. Sixty-two percent of the teenagers had been to a cybercafé and 40.8 % had visited a pornographic website, especially boys (33.1 % of boys versus 7.7 % of girls; p Mass media is a very powerful tool to influence the minds of anyone, let alone a teenager. Teenagers are in that stage of growing up where everything around them influences them. The way they talk, dress and act depends a lot on what they are exposed to. For example, if a teenager sees his or her favourite celebrity endorsing a product which may or may not be necessary, he or she may want to buy it regardless of how useful the product is. This is a strategy many big businesses use to their advantage as they can easily sell products, even if they are of bad quality.
“Advertising is a very manipulative technique to promote products. Special attention needs to be paid to advertising’s effects. Three product categories are especially important for teens’ health: cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and food. According to the teen marketing experts, adolescents “admit that advertising is a more important trend source than DJs, VJs, movies, celebrities, or the coolest and weirdest people at school” (P, 1995). We must be alert about the effects of advertising that deliberately exploit the insecurities of adolescents and attempt to “sell” them the answers to their problems with an abundance of new products.
Television is a medium people widely now have easy access to. Nowadays, there are many shows such as Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Da Vinci’s Demons etc. on television that glorify sex, drugs, alcohol and violence. Online streaming and downloading has made it even more convenient to watch shows and films which means that teenagers have easier access to their favourite shows that contain obscenity. This kind of exposure poses as a threat as many teenagers find sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking and violence to be “cool”. As a result, many teenagers fall prey to problem of addiction. Drugs, alcohol, smoking and sex are all termed as things that are addictive and if one develops the problem of addiction, life becomes really hard to cope with. It’s like you are moving towards your own destruction. It must be quite a challenge for adolescents not to see portrayals of alcohol in their everyday use of the media. Alcohol appears in more than 70% of prime-time television shows and in 90% of the movies” (Roberts DF, Henriksen L, Christenson PG, 1999). Greater than one third of all main characters drink alcohol, but fewer than 2% are shown as having a drinking problem (N, 1987). Advertising links alcohol with a variety of benefits that appeal to teenagers such as socializing, virility, sexual attraction, romance, escape, and adventure (Atkin CK, Strasberger VC, Comstock GA (eds), 1993), and few consequences (e.g., hangovers, accidents, violence, and embarrassment). Alcohol advertising also often represents slices of life that concentrate on the drinkers and the drinking occasions rather than on the qualities of the product itself, which may be particularly appealing to teens who are using the media for ideas about how to be in the world.
Video games are vastly played by the teenagers of today. The video games are highly addictive as well contain a lot of mature content. In US about 97% of the teens play video games. The local video game industry over there brings in nearly a revenue of $12 billion a year. Many studies have shown that video games with violent content are associated with violent behavior. This concern is important because most of the popular video games contain violence. The increase in aggressive behavior is partly linked to the amount of time teens spend on playing video games. (Gentile & Anderson, 2003) have stated that playing video games may increase aggressive behaviour because violent acts are frequently repeated throughout the video game. This process of repetition has long been considered as an effective teaching method in strengthening learning patterns.
Another study carried out in 2008 took a nationally representative sample of 1,102 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 and their parents. From the results, it was found that 97 percent of the young respondents play video games. Further divided on the basis of gender, 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls played video games. Half the respondents had also played a video game the previous day. This emphasizes on how frequently they are exposed to video games. Even though most parents checked the censor’s rating before permitting their child to buy it, 50 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls preferred games with “Mature” (M) or “Adult-only” (AO) rating, which implies a high degree of exposure to obscenity. (Irvine, 2008) This preference is due to the impact of mass media. It is slowly becoming a norm that children are exposed to such stuff at such a tender when they are learning things that shape up their personality. This is why such exposure can be damaging. I know people who like go to parties, and smoke just because it is something everyone does or something that you casually see on television or in video games.
Since media has the ability to manipulate people’s mind and attitudes, it also influences gender stereotypes. Advertising, news industries and entertainment, usually portray men and women with stereotypes, in which women and girls are likely to be placed in disadvantaged situations, for example passive and submissive roles. This happens a lot in third world countries e.g. Pakistan. Several TV shows and commercials show women usually playing the role of a housewife while men are shown to be more career-oriented, focusing on their occupations. As a consequence, traditional gender roles and power relations have been deeply imputed in people’s sub-consciousness through the mass media which limits the development of human personalities as well as social equality. When youngsters look at advertisements, TV shows or films, they are exposed to images of stereotypical representations. This stereotyping can be seen for all ages. For example, you can see little girls playing with Barbie Dolls and Teddy bears or having tea parties while boys are shown playing with action figures. Male teenagers are usually portrayed as sporty whereas female teenagers are shown as girls who have interest in fashion. Women are more often presented in commercials doing grocery because they are seen as responsible for making daily purchases. Men commonly advertise cigarettes, cars, business productsor investments, whilewomen are shown rather in the commercials with cosmetics, shoes, bags and clothing. Another important distinction is the face-ism phenomenon inthe advertisements, which refers to showing the entire figure in case of a woman and close-up shots in case of a man (Matthews, J.L, 2007). All of this indirectly injects the idea in the minds of the people that girls and boys should be educated differently. It is typical for girls to be tender and have concerns with being beautiful and popular, while boys are encouraged to be tough and consider more about their careers than appearance. Therefore, teenage boys and girls behave and reflect as the expectation of their society and culture instead of the way they really want.
If we look at the other side of the argument which talks about mass media as a positive influence on teenagers we can see that mass media is the reason why communication is now so much easier and quicker than in the past. The internet is one of the most widely used mediums nowadays. With the help of social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. one can communicate with friends and family easily, especially those who live far away at a cheaper cost in comparison to making phone calls or travelling expenses. Mass media also keeps people up-to-date on events happening around the world within a short amount of time. For example, if a famous personality passed away; you will hear this immediately. Media keeps you informed. It also helps in other things like entertainment and gaining knowledge.
Also Mass media is a good way to promote positive messages to teens. Since teens are immersed in media culture, it is wise to use that platform as a means to promote information and education about a variety of things that affect teenagers such as mental illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, drug use or even suicide. “The More You Know” is an Emmy Award-winning series of Public Service Announcements(PSAs) which broadcasts on theNBCfamily of channels in the US and other locations. Even though not all of the messages given out are geared towards teens, many of these short, 90 minute commercials give messages that educate and inform teenagers of the possible consequences of certain behaviours.“The More You Know” has dealt with smoking, driving, suicide and even safe sex. Another good example is of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. With this campaign Dove has used their advertising for a greater good. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaigntargets self-esteem and has also been selecting real women and girls in their campaigns rather than super thin models. They’ve also have taken a multi-media approach using an interactive website and in-person education to encourage girls, particularly to feel good about their bodies and appreciate themselves the way they are (Delp). Yes, media helps us cause awareness quite easily and the “The More You Know” and Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign are wonderful campaigns to raise awareness and help people with low-self-esteem but many teenagers are still widely exposed to ideal body types which are considered attractive therefore, it is hard to change their mind-set.
It is important to be aware of mass media and the impact it has on teenagers, especially for parents, because they need to be aware of how it is affecting their child. If parents are more aware, they can be more understanding and helpful towards their children. The disadvantages are rather more important than the advantages because if one does not think about them then one will also not be able to come up with solutions and there can be severe consequences. Parents firstly need to realize that it is impossible to separate a teens’ life from media, especially in today’s world. However, parents can take the lead in restricting usage by spending more time with their teens and consistently discussing matters that are affecting mass media and teenagers. Parents should encourage their children for more outdoor activities as well limit the time their teenagers spend on the watching television and surfing the internet. Also since advertising is a very powerful tool, it could be used in a more positive way to put better influence on teenagers.
Mass media has both negative and positive influences on teenagers as it can be seen from the points mentioned above. While I do not deny nor disregard the fact that mass media has indeed made lives easier, its negative influences still outweigh the positive ones in my opinion. As the famous saying goes, that everything is good in moderation. Therefore the extensive usage of mass media is now leading to more problems than the benefits it is providing us with.
Atkin CK, Strasberger VC, Comstock GA (eds). (1993). Effects of media alcohol messages on adolescent audiences. Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, 527-541.
Delp, V. (n.d.). Mass Media and Teenagers. Retrieved from Love To Know Teens:
Gentile, D. A., & Anderson, C. A. (2003). Violent video games: The newest media violence hazard. D. A. Gentile (Ed.), Media violence and children.
Irvine, M. (2008, September 16). Survey: 97 Percent Of Children Play Video Games. Retrieved from The Huffington Post:
Mass media consumption in adolescence. (2005). An Pediatr (Barc), 63, 516-525.
Matthews, J.L. (2007). Hidden sexism: Facial prominence and its connections to gender and occupational status in popular print media. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 57, 515-525.
N, S. (1987). Drinking, sex, and violence on television: The cultural indicators perspective. 17, 245-260.
P, Z. (1995). Wise Up to Teens: Insights into Marketing and Advertising to Teenagers.
Roberts DF, Henriksen L, Christenson PG. (1999). Substance use in popular movies and music.
Zeiger, S. (n.d.). The Media Affects a Teen’s Body Image. Retrieved from Love to know teens:

Effect of Stress on Teenagers

Stress affects teenagers almost every day. Many feel stressed-out when they have a test, job, or too many activities. It can even be caused from something as small as riding a roller coaster. Goals and challenges are the main cause because they are thought to be hard to complete. Stress is a well-known trigger for depression and can also affect physical health. It is important to identify the causes of stress in a teenager’s life and try to minimize them. Stress, no matter if it is small or big, occurs in teenagers’ lives today.

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Stress is the uncomfortable feeling of having pressure and it can be caused from many events. The main causes of stress in a teenager’s life come from school, work, activities, friends, and family. There are two forms that it comes in. The first form is called acute stress, which lasts for a short period of time. This can be caused from missing the bus, fighting with a friend, or giving a speech in school. Another kind of stress is chronic stress, which is long-term stress. Examples include repeated struggle in school, illness/disability, or an illogical fear (heights, bugs, etc). Most teenagers begin with acute stress and then gradually feel overwhelmed, which develops into chronic stress.
The causes of stress come with both internal and external effects. It depends on the person, but the internal effects include anxiety, irritability, and nervousness. External effects include breathing faster, sweating, muscles tensing, dry mouth, keener senses, and lack of energy, headaches, and sickness. A stressed person tends to have trouble paying attention and have trouble recalling facts. A person who is ambitious or a perfectionist gains stress more often. All of this can cause a person to get into fights and lose friends.
There is a process in the body that takes place when stress occurs. First, a hormone called epinephrine combines with adrenaline, which causes an “adrenaline rush”. The hormones and chemicals cause the body to increase blood pressure and heart rate. These responses prepare the body to deal with and recover from a physical attack. The body also suppresses the production of other chemicals to help increase protective responses. If the brain never puts its guard down, it develops chronic stress. The ability to sleep is the first to go. These effects occur if it’s real of imagined; it’s what we perceive. Suicide and depression can occur. Other serious effects are high blood pressure, reflux disease, asthma, ulcers, and migraines.
Every day teenagers face situations that can be stressful, which can develop when the teenager matures into an adult. Finding strategies to avoid and control stress are beneficial so that the person can mix a happy life with work. To become stress-free, the person has to change their thoughts, attitudes, feelings, communication, response, and circumstances. Physically, teenagers must eat healthy, get enough sleep (around eight to nine hours), and exercise. Teenagers should remember to keep ideas into perspective and be optimistic. Surrounding themselves with good friends, a good level of activities, and enough time to get school work done is essential.
Each day stress builds up in a teenager’s life, which can be negative as this carries into their adulthood. Once the brain understands that danger is gone, all of the symptoms of stress are gone. Sadly, some do not realize that the danger is gone, which can develop into serious problems. Most teenagers suffer from stress and need to learn how to manage their stress in order to grow healthy in the ever-changing, stressful world. 
Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress. Exercise gives us the opportunity to get up and go. Physical fitness leads to greater self-confidence and self-discipline (Stephens, 1988). Exercise also lowers blood pressure while increasing our ability to deal with stress (Ford, 2002). Unfortunately, many of us bypass daily exercise because we think we need to run five miles a day to make a difference. Not true. Even a ten minute walk increases energy levels and lowers tension (Thayer, 1987, 1993). There are many reasons why exercise can lead to a reduction in stress: Exercise increases the output of the mood-boosting chemicals your nervous system produces (Jacobs, 1994). Exercise enhances your cognitive abilities, such as memory, to some degree (Etniers & others, 1997).  Exercise lowers your blood pressure (Perkins & others, 1986). Exercise has side effects, such as better sleep, that provide an emotional benefit. Regular exercise cuts heart attack risk in half (Powell & others, 1987) and increases longevity by as much as 2 years (Paffenbarger & others, 1986). So after a busy schedule or a tiring day on the job, why not go get a bike and running shoes?
Your family, and friends, can surprisingly also lead to better stress management and coping. A research study done by Warr & Payne in 1982 has concluded that a lot of things, one being that people who are accompanied by friends and/or family during hard times expressed feelings of happiness while these events were taking place.
It shouldn’t take a scientific study to show that surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends and co-workers can have a positive effect on your mental well-being, but there’s plenty of research to confirm it. Because people are social beings, social support seems to act as a buffer against the effects of stress (Rathus, 2007). There are five definitions of social support: emotional concern, instrument aid, information, appraisal, and socializing (Rathus, 2007). Research shows that the concept of social support does in fact help people cope with stress and in turn reduces the risk of health problems that could be the result of stress on the body (Rathus, 2007). The more social support you have, the less stress will have an opportunity to affect you in a negative way (Rathus, 2007). Another way to get around stress is to try and make some changes in your schedule. Make sure you have a lunch period, and certainly a free period to get some of your homework out of the way. Try staying in the library or even an empty classroom if you are allowed to after school. Sometimes you might have better concentration if you work in a different place. If you have lots of majors, consider dropping one. Move down levels in some of your classes or take easier ones altogether. Take some of your core classes during summer school to free up time during the year. Summer school classes are more laid back and more fun than you’d think.
Stress is inevitable, but unhealthy responses to it are not. When face with a stressor, such as a flat tire on your way to school or work, how do you respond? Is the flat tire a threat? “I’ll never be able to fix this! This sucks! Or is it a challenge? “I can handle this. Let’s see, what are my options? Your appraisal of the situation is crucial. If you see the stressor as a threat, you’re more likely to panic and freeze up, making it more difficult to solve your problem. If, instead, you view the stressor as a challenge, your response will be focused, and you’re more likely to overcome the obstacle (Pinner, 2005) your perception of the stressor directly affects your emotional responses. The top athletes, the best teachers, and the most effective leaders seem to thrive when faced with what they perceive as a challenge.
Optimism also seems to offer some protection against the effects of stress. Compared with their pessimistic counterparts (those with a negative approach to life), students identified as optimists have stronger immune systems and are less likely to become ill or fatigued during the last month of the semester (Seligman, 1991). Optimists also recover more quickly from heart surgery than pessimists do, and, when stressed, they register lower blood pressure readings (Segerstrom & others, 1998) so, what I’m trying to say here is that a good outlook on the situation would more than likely mean that you would be coming through, unscathed, out of any dilemma in your teenage life.
Stress is a universal bodily and psychological process that we all experience. Stress is not bias to just the classroom, or at home but with this information and the techniques and lifestyles I have included, you may find yourself closer to psychological utopia than ever before on the job, or off.

Impact of New Media on Teenagers


The data was obtained through interviews at two high schools and through the below interview questions.
Interview questions

Do you use new media? If so what mode social sites, internet in general or

If you do not use new media, what made you decide not to?

How often do you use it in a day and how do you assess it?

If you used it at some point how often did you asses it? Or how often do you feel others asses it?

How do you feel it has impacted you positively and negatively

How do you feel not using it has impacted you Positively and negatively?

Has they been any change in the way you act or view things? 

Do you feel the is a difference in the way You act or view things as compared to those who use new media? If so what?

How would you say it has affected you academically negatively and positively?

How would you say academically this has affected you academically both positively and negatively?

How do you feel it has affected the way you relate to your friends?

Has thing in anyway affected the way you relate to your friends?

How has it impacted the way you view your culture and act as an African or Malawian.?

How has it Impacted the way you view your culture and act as an African or Malawian?

Lastly has the been any change in your principles or have you found them being compromised in anyway because of new media? If so how?

Do you feel other people principles are in any way compromised by new media as compare to you? If so how?

The majority of teenagers in schools access new media through their phones and laptops. The main sites that are used or the most used form of new media is Facebook and Whatsapp as well as the internet in general through Google to find out things they are curious about. Most of the youth as well admitted to having used new media frequently some even admit to being addicted to it.

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According to the research however new media has positively impacted teenagers in a lot of positive ways the first being it helps them with research in school work and finding out about other things that they may be curious about. Social sites help to build a closer relationship between teenagers and their friends plus relatives that may be far away. It provides quick and cheap communication as compared to phone calls and text messages or travelling to meet their friends and relatives. It also helps with making new friends for teenagers that are naturally shy and cannot or find it had to make friends or interact with others physically. They get a chance to find someone to interact with and talk to when need be. Makes them understand new technology that is coming in and how to use it effectively.
They are however also some negative ways in which new media impacts teenagers firstly being that despite the ability to make new friends they are not trustworthy. This may be imposter’s people with bad manners that may end up sharing them with the teenagers or worse criminals who end up harming innocent teens or stealing from them. Most teenagers also admitted to the fact that it is too tempting, it gives them the chance to see things that may be inappropriate to them on a silver platter it is like leaving chocolate on the table for a kid and telling them not to eat when its alone with them in the room for days and nobody has the ability to know if they eat it. This also results in teens being exposed to porn and other inappropriate pictures which later trigger things like premarital sex and early pregnancies.
Teens are also exposed to a western way of life and tend to think drugs and alcohols are part of life and if you do not drink go clubbing or use media then you feel left out and backwards in time. It is so addictive that teens can not focus on anything else other than it. It also gives wrong information about various things and teens get wrong advice from their new internet found friends about different things which ends up corrupting their character.
Most teenagers agreed to there being a change in the way they act or view things since they started using new media. They know more things than they did in the past and they are pickier about things more especially the way they dress or act around friends.
New media from an academic point of view has also impacted them positively in that it helps them with homework and research when their given something to work on at school. It also helps them to find notes, books and past papers that their school may not be able to provide which also helps with their performance in class. They also learn a lot of new things online that they may not be able to learn in school. They are able to get inspiration from other people that they are able to look up and find out about their lives online. It helps with their spellings and grammar.
New media however also has academic disadvantages which according to the research included: It reduces concentration on school as the time that would be used for studying is rather used on new media or social sites. Instead of concentrating in class teens are busy on their phones using social media or thinking about what to say to who, their next Facebook or WhatsApp profile picture and status. It makes them lazy and increases chances of plagiarism as they might as well take an already written paper and just change it than spend time on writing a paper rather than on the internet. Due to the many abbreviations used on social sites the teens’ spellings are sometimes affected and their language too. It provides them sometimes with the wrong information on their school work too.
It has also impacted the way they relate to their friends in that they have more time to chat and hence it brings them closer. However other friends that do not use new media are isolated. It reduces interaction between teens instead of them meeting up to chat or do another thing they only want to talk using social media.
Most teens start to feel that their culture is left behind and start to despise it. They, as a result, they forsake culture and tradition which ends up leading them astray. This also destroys the spreading of our African culture and heritage with other as it is slowly dying. People end up following western culture and values and even dressing which may be inappropriate for the African society. Like not doing house chores or ignoring guests when they come instead of greeting them and making them feel at home.
Most admit to their principles being bent to some extent to fit in which may not, however, be an appositive thing, especially If what they are fitting into is inappropriate and destructive.
I was also shocked to find out that their other teens that do not use any form of new media or social site and some that only use new media for school in this day of age and time. This was due to parents denying them access to it after witnessing a reduction in their grades. Others were because of their religion not permitting them to do so or simply not wanting to do so after being affected by it negatively in some ways. They said the was an increase in their performance due to this in class as they had more time to study but however lacked some friends and often felt left out.
Most teens did say they should be an age restriction on sites as to what they can and cannot view. They should be appropriate pictures on social sites. And finally, parents should mind the time that their children are given internet access. Some teens suggested being given access in the evening, weekends and on holidays.

Impact of Drug Abuse on Health of Teenagers Aged 13-19

Literature Review
1.0 Introduction
This chapter provides a comprehensive critical literature review of a small number of sources that are considered to be particularly useful in exploring the two key themes of this dissertation. The first of these themes is the impact of drug abuse on the health of the teenagers aged 13-19 in London, while the second is the impact of governmental strategies in tackling drug abuse amongst teenagers aged 13-19 in London. These themes are discussed using the resources selected, and the quality, methodological approach, relevance and ethical and anti-oppressive practices are all part of the critical review. The chapter finishes with a short summary bringing these key ideas together.

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1.1 The Impact of Drug Abuse on the Health of Teenagers Aged 13 – 19 in London
The first theme investigates the impact of drug abuse on specific aspects of health on teenagers in London. There are two key sources that form the core of this critical review for this theme. Even so, neither of these relate solely to the target population, and in each case some extrapolation of findings is made in order to describe the likely characteristics of 13 – 19 years’ olds in London.
The first is source is the case-controlled study carried out by Di Forti et al (2015:1), and briefly discussed in Chapter Two above. Looking more closely at this study, and reviewing it critically, it still remains a useful article, as it focuses on the mental health impacts of cannabis and shows a clear association between the use of the drug in its high potency form (skunk) and psychosis. It might not at first appear that the study is relevant given that it started in 2005. However, it continued recruiting for over 6 years, and amassed a wealth of data on those individuals abusing drugs – specifically high potency and easily available cannabis.
The research study used a primary research methodology. For the recruitment of cases, the authors approached all patients (18 – 65 years) with first episode psychosis presenting at the inpatient units of the South London and Maudsley Hospital. They invited people to participate in the study only if they met the International Classification of Diseases 10 criteria for a diagnosis of non-affective (F20–F29) or affective (F30–F33) psychosis, which they validated by administering the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) (Di Forti et al, 2015:2). For the controls, the authors used internet and newspaper adverts and also distributed leaflets on public transport and in shops and job centres. The controls were given the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire and were excluded if they met the criteria for a psychotic disorder. While the two groups only included the last two years of the target population group for this study i.e. 18 and 19 year olds, it was a study located in London, and on analysis appeared to indicate a number of characteristics that were felt to be useful for providing information that would also be useful for younger teenagers.
All participants (cases and controls) included in the study gave written informed consent under the ethical approval obtained from the Institute of Psychiatry Local Research Ethics Committee. There did not appear to be any unethical practices, but the study had the potential to be oppressive as by the nature of the patients presenting at the clinics, and by the nature of their access to skunk, being more likely to be of certain ethnic groups – especially of black West Indian origin – it could be argued that the study to some extent misrepresented the populations of south west London, and more specifically, the West Indian communities found there. In other words, the inclusion of participants from these origins might be likely to give observers an unjust view of the ethnic group or of the population of that area of London as a whole.  
The method used with the participants was quantitative and involved questionnaire assessments, specifically socioeconomic data and the Cannabis Experience Questionnaire modified version (CEQmv) which included data on history of use of alcohol. tobacco, alcohol, any other use of recreational drugs, and detailed information on cannabis use (i.e. first use age, use duration, frequency of use, type of cannabis used) (Di Forti et al, 2015:2). Between 2005 and 2011, the researchers approached 606 patients of which 145 (24%) refused to participate, therefore 461 patients with first-episode psychosis were recruited. Using a range of statistical tests, and adjusting for a number of variables including the variables for frequency of cannabis use and the type of cannabis used, and in combining these the authors found that controls were more likely to be occasional users of hash, whilst the frequent users were more likely to be using skunk. They also found, using logistic regression, that those people who had started using cannabis at a younger age had a greater risk of developing psychotic episodes (Di Forti et al, 2015:5).
The second resource to be analysed was the study by McCardle (2004). This was a literature review focusing on the impacts of substance abuse by children and young people. Although this did not use primary research, it provided a useful analysis of a number of other studies.  Although the age of this study meant that it might have had limited relevance to teenagers in 2017, in fact the study related directly to the findings of the later Di Forti et al study. This was because McCardle (2004:1) found that cannabis was becoming stronger than it had been in the past – just as Di Forti et al found that skunk use was increasing and that it was of a much higher potency than previously. McCardle (2004:2) also found that there was a range of mental health issues resulting from the use of cannabis, including an increased risk of suicide, and an increase in aggressive, disassociated behaviours, anxiety, depression and other similar problems (McCardle, 2004:2). Another useful aspect of this research was that it identified the problems of terminology relating to the gathering and analysis of data – so many different terms are used that it is often difficult to ascertain accurate trends and outcomes (McCardle, 2004:3). While it would have been preferred to have used a London based source or one that engaged participants of the target age group though a primary method, the lack of sources of academic literature meant that this study was valuable in that it analysed other studies, and also existing datasets from the UK government. The article also focused on the social impacts of cannabis, for example, looking at the developmental impacts, and the negative effects on education, both of which could lead to poor outcomes in terms of quality of life and attainment in later life.
The findings from these two articles provided valid evidence of the relationship between the use of cannabis and mental, emotional, social and physical health of teenagers and young people. Although there was limited focus on the population age target group for the dissertation specifically, both articles provided relevant points of interest, and it is possible to extrapolate from them to state that teenagers in London engaged in cannabis abuse are very likely to be at risk of experiencing the various health effects identified above.
3.2 The Impact of Government Strategies in Tackling Drug Abuse Amongst Teenagers Aged 13-19 in London
Finding academic research sources that focused on recent government strategies aimed at the target group based in London was very challenging. For the most recent strategy – the Troubled Families Programme, Lambert and Crossley (2017:1) get to the very heart of the ethical and oppressive practices issue, as they argue that this government strategy is one of a wider spectrum of policies that locates problems within the family itself, and which emphasises behaviour as the target for action irrespective of the socio-economic influences that exist. This is a review study – critically reviewing a strategy – and is very current, as the TFP has recently been revisited by the Government, who are considering an extension, despite evidence that it has not met its targets or expected outcomes. While this article is not based on a piece of primary data, the authors have conducted primary data about this issue through interviews in the very recent past, and the article refers to these. They have found that TFP has continued the view of target families as an ‘underclass’, as ‘neighbours from hell’ and as expensive and very difficult to ‘treat’. While the TFP took a holistic approach, using one individual or team to work with families on all of their problems, Lambert and Crossley (2017:4), and others (Bonell et al, 2016) argue that the underlying attitude of the Government and of the strategy meant that its approach was unlikely to succeed.
3.3 Summary
This chapter showed that there were clearly associated health impacts with the use of cannabis; some of these impacts were severe, and often included mental illness and behavioural change, especially where high potency cannabis was used. It also showed that despite many years of government strategies and policies, there still does not appear to be a solution that can reduce the use or impacts of cannabis and other drugs. The final chapter provides a reflection on the research undertaken for this dissertation, and provides some brief conclusions and recommendations. 
4.0 Introduction
In this final chapter, three tasks are completed. First, a reflective account of the research is undertaken. In research and practice, reflection on a task and outcome is very important because it provides the author with the opportunity to look back and learn from their actions. There are in fact two types of reflection, both of which might be applicable to this work. The first definition is that of ‘reflection’ which is considered to be a ‘process or activity’ that involves thinking and is judged to include cognitive processes of problem finding and problem solving (Leitch and Day, 2000:180). The second type of reflection is that of ‘reflective practice’. This is the use of reflection and reflective skills to transfer learnt knowledge i.e. theories to the application of those theories to the everyday practices of an individual. It has been shown to be very important for individual practitioners as it aids their ability to learn from their actions and associated outcomes, and enables them to develop improvements based on experience and theoretical knowledge (White et al, 2016:9).
There are two main models of reflection that can be used to support the reflective researcher or the reflective practitioner. These are Kolb’s model of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984) and Gibbs’ reflective cycle (Gibbs, 1988). Gibbs developed his model as a refinement of the earlier Kolb model, and it is Gibbs’ model that is used in this dissertation.

Figure 1: Gibbs’ Model of Reflection (Park and Son, 2011:2)

The Gibbs Model provides a researcher with the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of what they have learned (Park and Kastanis, 2009:11) and the strengths and weaknesses of their work, their underlying values, the insufficiency of their approach, and areas of improvement (Park and Son, 2012:3). For these reasons the Gibbs Model will be applied below.
4.1 Reflection on the Process of the Research
4.1.1 The Experience
The process of writing the dissertation was both challenging and enjoyable. It was enjoyable because any research activity is one of problem solving and of searching for information, and these two activities can be very satisfying when they result in finding out something new. While primary research is often seen as the most valid form of activity, in fact secondary research, based as it is on the gathering of existing data, and the synthesis of that data to suggest new outcomes or findings, can be just as valid, and just as difficult as carrying out processes that collect new or primary data.
4.1.2 The Challenges and the Achievements
As alluded to a number of times throughout this dissertation there were a number of difficulties or challenges. The choice of the topic was in retrospect a good one because it focussed on a population group in a particular location, London, that had clearly received little research focus previously. While there has been substantial data gathered on drug use and abuse more generally in the UK and more generally across age ranges, very little has been done in relation to the 13 – 19 year old age group. In fact, it was this aspect that caused the greatest difficulty in completing the dissertation – the lack of resources and data available that were relevant to this age group, in London, for any kind of drug abuse other than newspaper articles that often used the issue of drug abuse in relation to crime, ethnic minorities or deprivation, meant that the data that was available had to be used carefully. For example, it was possible to obtain academic resources such as that of Di Forti et al, that looked at drug abuse, specifically, cannabis, in London, but only two years of respondents in that study (18 and 19 year olds) fit into this dissertation, whilst the study by McCardle (2004) provided relevance to the wider age group (15 – 24) but was not based in London, so could point to some useful outcomes but did not have specific locational knowledge. In relation to the strategies developed to address the issue, again the resources of an academic nature were very limited, made even more challenging because the most recent strategies, i.e. those that had occurred in the past five years, have yet to undergo much academic analysis, but as they are a very different approach from those used a decade or so ago, there is little point in trying to evaluate those older approaches.
Despite the difficulties outlined above, it was felt that there were a number of positives obtained from the research. As there was such a dearth of resources available, this dissertation appears to provide new research and new analysis of data for this group of the population in this location. As a result, the author felt that the validity of their choice of topic and their research approach was justified to some extent. In terms of time management, it was felt that the research was planned well, and even though the search for data and resources took longer than expected, it was still possible to incorporate the timing required into the overall research schedule. The research also challenged the overall beliefs and judgements held by the author at the start of the process. Whilst it was felt that some degree of knowledge was held about these issues, there were some preconceptions held about the type of teenagers that participated in drug abuse. The gathering of the data enabled the author to begin to challenge those preconceptions especially in relation to the factors that cause people of this age to start abusing drugs. This new understanding allowed the author to start to view the issues differently.
4.1.3 Changes Required
There are a number of changes that could be implemented to make the research easier and to address the question of limited resources. Firstly, the age range would be extended to include children from the age of 0 years to 24 or 25 years, as this would enable a greater number of data sources to be used, and they could be more easily analysed and extrapolation made for teenage years. Second, the inclusion of drug abuse by parents impacting on the health of their children would be included, as this issue has consistently emerged as a key problem for children and teenagers throughout the data collection, and can be a major factor in determining whether teenagers participate in drug use and abuse. Finally, although London would still be the locational focus, because a lot of data that is collected for London and the South-East, the locational boundaries would be stretched to incorporate this area within the research.  If these changes were put into place, it would be a positive exercise to undertake the research process again to see if it was possible to obtain data and achieve findings that were even more valuable than those already developed.
4.1.4 Applying the Gibb’s Model of Reflection

Figure 2: Biggs’ Reflective Model Applied to This Research

Having applied Gibbs’ model of reflection it is helpful to see that the reflection that is carried out in stages can lead to a targeted plan of action, which can form the framework for new research. Gibbs’ model does not necessarily allow for complexity, however, as it is a linear-cyclical model, and used in this way cannot represent the many complexities and variables that characterise the issue of drug abuse amongst teenagers.
4.2 Conclusions
The research question that this dissertation set out to examine was:
What patterns of drug abuse occur amongst teenagers in London, and what are the causes, health impacts and possible solutions?
Despite the difficulties in obtaining specific data for teenagers aged 13 – 19 in London, there was sufficient information available to be able to provide an answer to this research question. From the prevalence perspective, the data showed that while the prevalence of drug abuse was decreasing overall, there were areas of London that had disproportionately higher levels, especially amongst specific ethnic groups. However, amongst all drug abusers, cannabis was the most used drug. The causes of drug abuse amongst teenagers was found to be a complex mixture of environmental, emotional, mental health and peer pressure related factors, meaning that addressing the problem is always going to be challenging for policy makers and healthcare providers.
In relation to the health impacts, the previous chapter has revealed that there is clear evidence that its use can be clearly associated with health outcomes of mental health including psychosis and the development of schizophrenia for drug abusers of any age. Not only that, but it is also quite apparent that teenagers engaging in drug abuse are much more likely to experience other health related problems because of their attitude to risk, and their participation in high-risk behaviours when they are under the influence of the drug. These other problems include contracting STIs, teenage pregnancy, the taking of other drugs and substances that have more severe health impacts, participating in criminal activities that can lead to violence in an attempt to obtain money to buy drugs and so on.
Looking at the strategy that has most recently been developed to try and address the problem of teenage drug use in London, it is apparent that it has not succeeded in its aims, objectives or targets. This seems to be the result largely of the oppressive nature of all such strategies held by UK Governments over recent years – an attitude that views those with drug abuse and other problems, as ‘problem families’ that need to be ‘solved’, instead of trying to really understand what it is about society in general that leads to such families existing in the first place. A focus on social, economic and environmental issues rather than on the families themselves might result in a better outcome. 
4.3 Recommendations
Having carried out a review of the literature surrounding this issue, there are some key recommendations that can immediately be made. The first of these recommendations relates to the data available for this issue – as indicated previously, one of the challenges of completing this dissertation was the paucity of data relating to the specific population being studied. It is, therefore, recommended, that research studies, or government agencies collecting data, should target this age group specifically when data is being collected about drug use or abuse. An alternative to this is for researchers to obtain the raw data from the various data collection agencies and sources, and to extrapolate the data that crosses the boundaries of the targeted populations group, and reprocess that data for the target age group. The second recommendation relates not to the data, but to the issues. It appears that controlling the availability of drugs is difficult, especially as there are so many types, and some, like cannabis, appear to be regularly available. As there seems to be an ongoing reduction in the number of young people using these illegal drugs, it would seem sensible to capitalise on this trend by providing better educational initiatives to inform people of the dangers to their health. It would also be appropriate to try and determine which factors were most likely to cause teenagers to start abusing drugs and to find ways of addressing these factors more effectively than has been the case to date.

Bonell, C., McKee, M., and Fletcher, A. (2016). Troubled Families, Troubled Policy making. BMJ, 355, doi:
Di Forti, M., Marconi, A., Carra, E., Fraietta, S., Trotta, A., Bonomo, M., Bianconi, F., Gardner-Sood, P., O’Connor, J., Russo, M., Stilo, S.A., Marques, T.R., Mondelli, V., Dazzan, P., Pariante, C., David, A.S., Gaughran, F., Atakan, Z., Iyegbe, C., Powell, J., Morgan, C., Lynskey, M., and Murray, R.M. (2015). Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis attributable to use of high potency cannabis: a case-control study. Lancet Psychiatry,
Gibbs, G. (1998). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning. London: FEU.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall
Lambert, M., and Crossley, S. (2017). ‘Getting with the (Troubled Families) Programme’: A Review. Social Policy and Society, 16(1), pp. 87 – 97.
Leitch, R., and Day, C. (2000). Action Research and Reflective Practice: Towards a Holistic View. Educational Action Research, 8(1), pp. 179 – 193.
McCardle, P. (2004). Substance Abuse by Children and Young People. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89(8), pp.701
Park, J.Y., and Kastanis, L.S. (2009). Reflective learning through social network sites in design education. International Journal of Learning,16(8), 11-22.
Park, J.Y., and Son, J.B. (2011). Expression and Connection: The Integration of the Reflective Learning Process and the Public Writing Process into Social Network Sites. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(1), pp. 1 – 6.
White, P., Laxton, J., and Brooke, R. (2016). Reflection: Importance, Theory and Practice. Leeds: University of Leeds.

Impact of Photoshopped Images on Teenagers

Do photoshopped images affect the way teenagers feel about themselves?
Do you ever just read through a magazine or just walk through the local Mall and see posters of men or women, young children, even infants with no flaws? Well majority of this advertisement is thanks to photoshopping. “So how does photoshopped images affect the way teens feel about themselves?” (Choices: The Award Winning Health & Life Skills Magazine for Teens,,Debate: Does “Photoshopping” images Hurt Teens? November/December 2014 Issue.)

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Back in 2012 a girl started a petition against photoshopped photos in a popular teen magazine, and 84,000 signed, clearly we’re tired of being fed lies!” “Use your voice through the internet and social media to demand that companies stop using photoshop for good.” Everyone knows that perfection does not exist in this world. So when you open a magazine and see a model or celebrities believe me that their flawlessness is made from photoshopping the images. So don’t compare yourself to today’s models and celebrities because it’s their job to look good by using photoshop. The biggest threat to ourselves self-esteem is ourselves. Stop comparing yourself to theirs and start recognizing how good you look.
“Three Facts about Photoshopping:” (Choices: The Award Winning Health & Life Skills Magazine for Teens, Debate: Does “Photoshopping” images Hurt Teens? November/December 2015)

In 2013 Israel’s “Photoshop law went into effect. It requires that digital alterations to make models appear thinner be disclosed along with the images or ads.
The truth in advertising Act was introduced in congress in 2014. It passed, it would require the government to come up with a strategy to reduce the use of altered images in advertisement’s.
According to a 2014 survey nearly three quarters of young women edit photos of themselves before posting them to social media. More than half of men do the same. Studies have shown that women or girls who read or look at any fashion advertisement or magazines can have a negative effect on their self-esteem.

“I think that the three facts stated above are really important that they remain enforced still to this day.” All companies who use photoshopping to alter any features on a person especially a teenager should make the public aware that it was done. Also they should get the permission from parents of teenagers before any photoshopping images are done and get posted to the public by any advertising on the social media. I feel like companies make it not as clearly visible or known to the public about photos that have been altered. It’s usually in very fine print and hard to find on the image or ad.
It’s very important to teach our young children about the truth behind the images that surround them. Letting them see behind their photo spreads and the advertisements can help control the negative effect of these images. Today’s media plays a big part of today’s society. The media informs us on everything that is going on in the world. Which includes the new products that are on the market. The media can also have a negative effect on society, especially on teen girls. Their struggles of body image issues, self- esteem, and acceptance is brought out the most when they look at how perfect and flawless women look in magazines, advertisements, commercials, posters, and bill boards. All of the perfect things they see in the media are photoshopped. A method that gives teen girls a perception of what they have to look like to be categorized as being beautiful in today’s society. (Huffington Post, New York, NY, Oct. 2014 Issue)
A lot of teen girls today put themselves down when they look at a photoshopped ad, they feel as if they aren’t beautiful. This is the main reason why photoshopping needs to be banned. Perfection doesn’t exist. No matter how many photoshopped ads there are in magazines, all women and teen girls are beautiful in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Companies need to stop using photoshop and promote women for who they really are without photoshoping any of their features. I don’t understand why some parents feel that they need to alter their teenage or young children’s photo’s. Especially if they know that their photos are being photoshopped to look better in the eyes of their parents. I think this caused low self-esteem and this is what causes a lot of teenage depression and suicides. At young ages children should be accepted for who, and what they look like not for what someone wants them to look like. Some of the alterations that can be photoshopped are anything from whitening teeth, removing braces, acne, and altering breasts on photos.
“Three of the most common mental-health problems among girls are eating disorders, depression or depressed mood/self-esteem.” They are linked to the presentation of women in the media. Forty two percent of girls I grades 1-3 want to be thinner. Fifty three percent of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies. By the time they’re 17, girls have seen 250,000 TV commercials telling them they should be aspired to be a sex object or have a body size they can never achieve. Seventy eight percent of 17 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies. Thirty percent of high school girls and 16 percent of high school boys suffer from disordered eating. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. (Day, Lori, Newburyport, MA, 14 April 2014)
SUMMARY: Life should be about who you are and not any type of photoshopping to make you something that you are not. I have learned from this research assignment that photoshopping can destroy teen’s self-esteem, and cause major emotional breakdowns. Be comfortable with your natural body appearance.
Choices: The Award Winning Health & Life Skills Magazine for Teens. (Debate: Does “Photoshopping” images Hurt Teens?) November/December 2014 Issue
Day, Lori, Newburyport, MA: Educational Psychologist, Consultant, and Author of Her Next Chapter: (Why Photoshopping Is a Matter of Life and Death for Many Girls)
Huffington Post, New York, NY (Photoshop: The Ugly Truth About Pretty Pictures) 11/11/2014 Updated 1/11/2015
Huffington Post, New York, NY (What We Miss When We Photoshop School Pictures) 10/06/2014, Updated Aug 03, 2015
GOOGLE SEARCHS: (06 Feb. 2017 – 15 Feb. 2017)
“Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?”…/do-photoshopped-images-make-you-feel-bad-
“Self Esteem Act:” US parents push for anti-Photoshop laws Daily Mail… Oct. 2011 – The Self Esteem Act: Parents push for anti-Photoshop law in U.S.
“Photoshop: The Effect On Teen Girls and Why It Needs to be Banned”…/photoshop-the-effect-on-teen-girls-and-why-it-needs-to May 30, 2012
“Self-Esteem and Girls: The Media’s Role | Building Self-Esteem”…/self-esteem-in-girls-the-medias-rol Aug 30, 2012
The photoshop effect | Feature Article 2013-12-03 – GhanaWeb Dec 3, 2013
The Ugly Truth Behind Pretty Pictures | Common Sense Media May 2014

The Perception Of Happiness In Teenagers

Most teenagers do not know the true meaning behind happiness. A teenager usually feels stuck between childhood and adulthood, and that explains their mood shifts. In this research, a teenager was interviewed about his perspectives of how he can be happy just to derive some points to help answer my research question. For happiness to reside inside the teenage soul is quite a difficult task due to the teenager’s unstable mood swings. If the teenager were to grow up as a depressed person, nothing good will come out of our country in future generations.
The teenage stage in life is known to be the most complicated stage that a person undergoes. In that stage, teenagers are stuck between two stages; the childhood and adulthood. Teenagers want to be treated like adults, yet their actions show that they are still immature.
For happiness to reside inside the teenage soul is quite a difficult task due to the teenager’s unstable mood swings. The number of depressed teens in the world seems to be increasing. People wonder why when the have these wonderful technology nowadays, but maybe these miscellaneous items aren’t where happiness come from
One reason behind teenager’s sadness is maybe because teenagers don’t know the true meaning and way of being happy. If teens grow up to be depression people, they will absolutely affect our community in many negative ways. It is a very critical matter to know of some ways that teenagers can achieve happiness by.
The aim of this research is to find out more about true happiness in teenagers and what they can do to be happy. This is a serious matter that needs to be also dealt in professional hands because teenagers are very complicated people.
Research Question: What are some ways that will help teenagers achieve true happiness?
Literature review
Strack, Schwarz, & Gschneidinger (1985) assert, “…one must consider the psychological mechanisms that mediate between the external event and individuals’ happiness and satisfaction.” Strack, Schwarz, & Gschneidinger mention that a persons way of thinking, his psychological thoughts, will help him reach happiness and satisfaction with the outside world. They show that it isnt the external stituations that makes a person happy. Infact it is the psychological mechanism that a person thinks in that will make that person happy and satisfied.

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According to Martin (2005), “happiness consists of a combination of three distinct elements; pleasure, the absence of displeasure, and satisfaction.” All these elements seem to come from emotional and psychological areas. The first element “pleasure” is in the emotional state of feeling great. The second element “the absence of displeasure”, he quite reflects that no matter what happens, a person should not feel bad or unsatisfied with what he has. The third element “satisfaction”, he clearly says that one should always be satisfied. All these psychological elements seem to be revolving around the same concept.
Stein (2011) says, “It’s far more likely the cashier was rude because of something in his own life. Furthermore, you will be happier if you assume his bad manners are due to his own issues. That’s two good reasons to assume it has nothing to do with you and move on.” Stein gives an example of a situation that a person can face in an optimistic manner were she describes an angry cashier that sort of spoke in a rude manner. Instead of making a scene about it, Stein shows that if you show empathy towards the cashier and think that maybe he had a bad day, you will be much happier and his problems won’t affect you.
Stein also said, “If you look hard enough, you can find something to learn and some good in any situation.” Everyone has ups and downs in his or her life. The ups are the ones that any person does his or her best to cherish and love them, which is a good thing. But, when a bad thing or situation happens, people try to isolate these memories yet they know they can’t. This will affect them mentally. But if they were to learn from these experiences and find the good in them, they will be happier no matter what happened.
Methodology Section
Type of Research: survey.
Data Collection Tool: Tape-Recorded Interview
Although there are many types of data collection tools, the most suitable tool for this research is a tape-recorded interview. An interview makes it easier for the interviewee to express his emotions and describe his real life experiences, noting down every single detail. That way the interviewee can tell his answers and descriptions more clearly and accurately.
Background of interviewee: When picking an interviewee candidate for my interview, the following must be kept in consideration:
A person who is a teenager (age 12-18): a teenager must be the interviewee to know how teenagers think and act. One must not interview an adult for a teenager’s point of view.
A person who always tends to avoid having problems: Such a teenager will not have many problems with other people, hence he will hardly be sad.
A person who is happy and satisfied with life: Knowing what made him happy or how did he become happy will greatly assist this research.
A person who is very calm and doesn’t act irrationally: Such teens will know how to act in harsh situations without hurting themselves.
Analysis and Interpretation
The interviewee seems to be very understanding on the way other teenagers think. He grew up in the hands of very strict parents, yet he never complained about them. In fact, he always mentions how much he loves them and how grateful he is towards them. He also mentions some mistakes that teenagers always do.
The interviewee starts the interview by giving two common wrong thoughts of what teenagers think happiness is. Teenagers usually think that happiness comes either from extrinsic items, like gifts and expensive objects, or intrinsic bonds, like those between your family and friends. The interviewee states, “happiness is just how you think and how you interpret the problems you face in your everyday life.” He says that happiness is more of a mindset rather than a physical or emotional being.
The interviewee gives a wrong common interpretation that teenagers think when he gives an example to his description of happiness. He said, “…when you face a problem between you and your family, what a teenager usually thinks that his parents hates him and that his life is over…” Then he gives a consequence to this thinking when he says, “then slowly these negative thoughts start controlling him gradually and he will end up hating his parents.” He shows that this way of thinking is one of the reasons why teenagers are unhappy. He then shows the correct way of thinking when he said, “But if he thinks about it in a positive way, like instead of his parents hating him, he should think that his parents are doing this to protect him, he will be a much happier and thankful person.” He shows that optimism and empathy will make any teenager more happy and accepting. He summarizes his point that happiness comes from positive thinking.
The interviewee shows that with the correct mindset, a teenager can feel like the happiest person in the world when he said, “I really like to think of myself as from the happiest kids on earth because I believe when u thinks like that you feel like that.” He shows that even if there is a problem, being proactive is best to solve it and therefore be much happier. He implies if a teenager is not proactive, his problems will gradually grow and expand, and they might reach to a point where this problem will affect him negatively.
The interviewee shares some of his methods that make him happy when he said, “Well I try my best to think of my life and problems in a different way, by always thinking positive. Plus I always tend to expect the worst, but not in a pessimistic way.” He gives an additional example were he shows that happiness comes from the correct thoughts or the correct mindset. He shows that having humble expectations can help a teenager be much more happy and appreciative in any situation.
The interviewee describes himself as any other teenager, showing that he can also be in the same situation that any teenager can be in. The only different thing is the way he acts in that situation. He implies that being self-aware and proactive is the best way to approach a situation. This way a teenager can solve any problem that stands in his way, therefore making him a happier person.
In the end of the interview, the interviewee asserted that happiness is internal, and that any teenager can be happy if he wants to. He indirectly states again that true happiness comes from the correct mindset.
So, What are some ways that will help teenagers achieve true happiness?
Research Question Answers:
They should think positively.
They should show empathy toward others.
They should be optimistic.
They should be proactive towards their problems.
They should have humble expectations
They should be self-aware.
In conclusion, the mistakes those teenagers commit mostly revolve around their negative thoughts. This is one of the reasons that lead them to be depressed. Teens should be taught of such helpful methods that the interviewee showed and even more. Teenagers are the future of our community and they should be filled with happiness and bright thoughts.
I recommend that teenagers should implement these methods that the interviewee performs because if the teenagers in our community were to be depressed and unsatisfied with life, they will grow to be unsuccessful men. Schools should make psychology classes that can help teenagers in their school learn more about how to be happy. This matter is very important because if our teens were to be unhappy then our community will fall to the ground because in the future they wont be successful. Scientists that understand about teenagers must perform more research and studies on the happiness in teenagers to help find more ways for them to be happy.
Critical Reflection
When the second semester in school started, a sudden rush hit me. I remembered that in the second semester we are supposed to take research classes, and in the end of the year we’re supposed to hand the teacher a full research project that will hold a high percentage of our report card grade. I was scared, until the first research period. Our teacher came and explained what research is and how easy it is if we follow 10 simple steps in the coming months. He also told us that this would help us in our university, especially because I’m going to pursue a medical career.
The first step wasn’t very hard. I already had some areas in mind that I would love to know more about. I wrote the three areas easily, but the hard part was picking the one I wanted to work on most. In the end, I chose the topic I want most, and the one that seems to be the most informative. Until now, I felt great and satisfied with the research.
In the second step, I had to pick the best title for my research. I had to check what I wanted to find in this research first to put the most suitable title. Until know the steps seem to be very simple, yet I knew I had a long way to go. I took a look at some research samples of the previous year. It was then when I became shocked and terrified. These samples seemed to be very complicated and long. I knew I’m still very far from being able to perform a proper research.
In the third step, I had to find some research questions that show my aim of this research. I asked the teacher for some guidance because I didn’t want to pick a very complicated research question that needs time and relentless effort to perform. I felt relieved when I asked my teacher about it because as it seems the research questions I was going to choose were very complicated.
In the fourth step, I had to figure how am I going to gather my information and in what method. This step felt like a break because I already planned before how am I going to gather my information.
The fifth and sixth step were the hardest so far. I felt very pressured because we only had limited time to perform these steps. Finding the proper questions for my interview was very difficult, but with my teachers help I was able to finish in time. When I finished formulating my interview questions, I had to look for the best interviewee. This task was easy because I already had a person in mind.
The seventh step wasn’t hard, yet it was time consuming. I felt really pressured due to the fact we had two weeks left, and I still have many questions regarding the research. In this step I had to transcribe the whole interview on the computer. I felt like this step would take forever. I just kept on typing and typing non-stop until I finished transcribing it.
Here I was in the last three steps. I was scared, yet thrilled that I’m almost done from the research. This step wasn’t very complicated, but finding the correct information was very hard. I hardly found some literary reviews for my topic. These steps took a lot of time. For a second I thought I would never finish this research on time. So I worked very hard to finish this research, which took me days and nights of non-stop typing and searching. In the end, I was able to get this research done. I felt very happy and relieved because the final graded assignment of this year is finally over.
Martin, P. (2005). Making Happy People: The Nature of Happiness and Its Origins in . Childhood. Paul Martin. HarperPerennial.
Stein, C. (2011). How To Be Happy (p. 41). New York: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Retrieved from
Strack, F., Schwarz, N., & Gschneidinger, E. (1985). Happiness and reminiscing: The role of time perspective, affect, and mode of thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49(6), 1460-1469. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.49.6.1460