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New Study Finds Teens Prefer ‘Heartwarming’ Family-Centered Content

Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

New Study Finds Teens Prefer ‘Heartwarming’ Family-Centered Content

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new study done by UCLA made a very interesting discovery about what teens want out of their TV shows. 

The study was conducted by the university’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers and collected data from 662 teens (ages 13-18) from all across America.

A surprising finding was the fact that just 4.4% of those surveyed wanted to watch “aspirational” content. This category includes shows with glamorous or interesting worlds that one might want to be part of, like GOSSIP GIRL, DYNASTY, or EMPIRE. 

Instead, a large number of the teens surveyed were looking for different content. 21% said they would rather watch shows that depict real-world issues, like family dynamics and sociopolitical issues. 

“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,” said psychologist Yalda Uhls, PhD, director of the Center for Scholars & Storytellers. 

She continued, “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.”

The study also found that teens prefer to watch uplifting stories about people overcoming obstacles, rather than content about partying, drinking, and doing drugs. 

The findings of this study are not surprising.

Movieguide® previously reported on another study about America’s media preferences:

A seven-year study of the top 275 or so movies released each year in the United States by Hollywood clearly shows that Americans prefer conservative, patriotic, pro-American movies with traditional, Judeo-Christian values and free market ideals rather than movies pushing an anti-capitalist, socialist, atheist, Communist, or anti-Christian agenda.

“Movies with strong or very strong Judeo-Christian values, capitalist ideals, patriotism, anti-Communist leanings, and/or Pro-American attitudes, do much better at the box office than movies promoting Marxism, political correctness, atheism, and anti-Christian content,” says Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®:  A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry, a Christian advocacy group in Hollywood.

“For example,” Dr. Baehr added, “movies with more conservative values in 2008 averaged more than seven times as much money as those movies promoting liberal or leftist values, $81.2 million versus only $11.4 million.”

Furthermore, none of the Top 25 Movies at the North American Box Office in 2008 had any socialist content, strong Communist content, strong anti-capitalist content, or very strong feminist, homosexual or anti-Christian content, but four of the Top 25 had very strong biblical or even Christian content, at least two had strong content featuring a positive view of a capitalist entrepreneur, and one had very strong anti-Communist content.

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.