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Teens and TV

StageofLife.com Trend Report:  High school and college students talk TV viewing habits and their favorite shows

Teens and TV - StageofLife.com Trend ReportDid you know that 67% of teenagers have a TV show they claim that they "just can't miss?" 

This is the national teen trend report from StageofLife.com addressing the Teens and TV.  The data, survey results, trends, and essays were submitted by teens and college students during Stage of Life's Feb. 2013 national poll and teen and college writing contest that asked,  

"Why Can't I Stop Watching My Favorite TV Show?"

Teens and TV Summary Overview:
  • VISITS:  Over 4,987 teens and college students visited the StageofLife.com student poll and writing contest during the month's writing prompt (February 2013) from across the US (all 50 states).
  • STUDENT TV ESSAYS:  Over 100 student bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the Teens and TV national writing contest answering the question, "Why Can't I Stop Watching My Favorite TV show?"  Jump to the Links for all 350+ Teen TV Essays.

Teens and TV - StageofLife.com trend reportBackground:  During the dead of winter, after the holiday season and New Year, people are hit with a new season of TV programming.  For good or bad, people everywhere are spending more time indoors right now, plopped down in front of the warm glow of their favorite television shows.  Glee.  Breaking Bad.  Mad Men.  The Bachelor.  The Super Bowl.  American Idol.  Boardwalk Empire.  Nashville.  Survivor.  Downton Abby.  Homeland.  Modern Family.  And the list goes on.

Whether it's Golden Globe nominated TV programming found on the cable channels or the popular reality TV series found on all of the major networks, we wanted to know what one TV show makes teens and college students stop their lives, put on their cozy clothes, and jump up on the couch for 30-60 minutes of "me" time.


PART I - TEENS AND TV STATISTICS - SURVEY RESULTS

Statistics about teens' TV viewing habitsBefore submitting their StageofLife.com writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete a survey about their TV viewing habits.  Here are the statistics from the survey on how teens feel about TV (see all student TV statistics from the national survey in the PDF download below)...
  • 1 out of 3 teens watch 2 or more TV shows per day
  • 2% of teens never watch TV
  • 16% of teens watch TV in the morning before school
  • 39% of teens have a TV in their bedroom
  • 60% of teens watch TV with their parents
  • 28% of teens feel TV is too violent, but the vast majority (72% do not feel it is too violent)
  • 62% of teens watch TV programs on Network Television (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox).  Compare that to 55% who watch TV shows on Cable; 44% who stream on Netflix; and 15% who use Hulu Plus to watch TV
  • 1 out of 2 teens said they watch TV directly on websites like YouTube or a TV show's website
  • 74% of teens do NOT like a TV on when they are studying
  • 61.6% of teens have 3 or more TVs in their home
  • Over half (55%) of teens would be upset if their parents cancelled the cable or satellite TV service
  • 67% of teens say they have a TV show that "they just can't miss."
Teens and Books - Reading and Purchasing Survey DataTo read the full national survey results and see the statistics on teenagers and TV viewing habits, click the PDF icon to download.

VIDEO SUMMARY OF OUR TEENS & TV STATISTICS


PART II - TEENS & TV ESSAY THEMES

After taking the TV viewing habits survey, students submitted their "Why Can't I Turn Away From My Favorite TV Show" writing contest essays to StageofLife.com.  From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes and trends emerged about how students feel about their favorite TV programs:

Five Teen Themes/Trends on TV...
  1. Feel Good: Whether they were getting swept away by drama or rolling on the floor laughing, these teens chose TV shows that made them feel good. Teens cited plot, character, and action as the main reasons why they watch their favorite shows.

  2. Inspiring: Many teens felt inspired by their favorite shows. They learned to be themselves, follow their dreams, and set new and interesting goals to achieve. All TV shows nominated provided a sanctuary for comfort and relaxation.

  3. Addicted: Almost all teens agreed that they were “addicted” to their favorite shows. When and if new episodes air, these teens are eagerly watching on the couch, awaiting new adventures.

  4. Educational: Some teens admitted learning something from their favorite shows. Whether a scholarly lesson or life lesson, teens agree that not all TV shows are just for fun.


PART III - READ THE TEEN TV ESSAYS

Teens and TV - Essays and Statistics on StageofLife.comImmediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and 100+ essays from college students and teenagers about their favorite TV shows.  The "Why I Can't Stop Watching My Favorite TV Show" essays have been organized alphabetically by TV show title.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winners, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).


Stage of Life writing contest winnerTeen & College Essay Contest Winner:

  • 1st Place Winner:  My Favorite TV Show: Jewel in the Palace Showed me the Jewel of My Life by haelen (This teen felt empowered by this show)
  • 2nd Place (Tie):  My Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad has Me Breaking Curfews by sb14 (This teen loves the perfect execution of creativity and plot twists)
  • 2nd Place (Tie):  My Favorite TV Show: The Colbert Report: a steady stream of satire by OliviaZZZ5 (This satirical news show challenges us to think critically about current hot topics—and also amuse us)

Teen & College TV Essay Runners-Up (in no particular order):
StageofLife.com student essay writers - Runners Up
  1. My Favorite TV Show: In Defense of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by WilliamKosh (Buffy is a response to the anti-woman plot of many horror shows)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Once Upon a Time enchants me with fairy tale twists by KL94 (She loves this shows’ unique perspectives)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: Trekkie Pride by MadHats (This show’s lack of discrimination is admirable)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead—Morality in the Time of a Zombie Apocalypse by Vanessa96 (This teen loves the philosophical dilemmas presented in this show about survival) 


StageofLife.com teen essay writers - Semi-FinalistsTeen & College TV Essay Semi-Finalists (in no particular order):
  1. My Favorite TV Show: Why 30 Rock is the Greatest TV Show Ever by thankyoumrsloopner (This teen wants to be the next Tina Fey)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Awkward by ayotayler335 (This teen really relates to this show)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Why The Bachelor is Awfully Addicting by jamiedanielletrevino (This teen is confused for her love for The Bachelor)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: The Biggest Loser makes me feel healthy, socially accepted, and hopeful by thesewordsispeak (Watching this TV show is like therapy)  

  5. My Favorite TV Show: The Carrie Diaries Becomes My Second First Kiss by idreamy (She loves the fun plots and exciting romance)

  6. My Favorite TV Show: Degrassi: The Rise of the Next Generation by xJ3SSICA (This show is about opening up lines of communication for tough issues for teens) 

  7. My Favorite TV Show: How Doctor Who Has Won My Hearts by LavedaVida (The Doctor made her better)

  8. My Favorite TV Show: How Glee has Changed Me by pearlemerson (Rachel from Glee taught her to fight for her dreams)

  9. My Favorite TV Show: Because Who Watches Grey’s Anatomy for the Medicine? by kristiana27 (These characters are very human)

  10. My Favorite TV Show: Modern Family: When I steal the remote and there’s no compromising by navosamarakoon

  11. My Favorite TV Show: Motorcity and the World Beneath the Exterior by Wonderwelle (This teen didn’t want to be a fan… at first)

  12. My Favorite TV Show: Candy-Colored Ponies (From My Little Pony) Make Me Wish for Peace by rosenwingedscribe (This teen learns valuable lessons at the end of each episode)

  13. My Favorite TV Show: Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide teaches me that we can learn from even the funniest moments by bridgette1 (This show has practical life lessons and fun moments)

  14. My Favorite TV Show: The many events of One Tree Hill never fail to inspire by Tiffyt3e (We all need a little bit of TV in our lives)

  15. My Favorite TV Show: Victorious Teaches Me to be Myself by madisvictorious (This cast is extremely talented)

Teens' Favorite Television Shows

Check out some of the television shows that inspired teens to write their winning essays...



NOTE - We received submissions on this writing prompt from all life stages and generations.  Here are the TV essay Contest Winners from our non-student categories...



StageofLIfe.com writing contest submissionsAll Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the National StageofLife.com Writing Contest - "Why Can't You Turn Away From Your Favorite TV Show?"

The essays below were written by Stage of Life teen writers for the February 2013 writing contest and are listed alphabetically by TV Show:

21 Jump Street


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Retro Undercover Cops in 21 Jump Street by hmadams033 (Johnny Depp is this teen’s idol)


30 Rock


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Why 30 Rock is the Greatest TV Show Ever by thankyoumrsloopner (This teen wants to be the next Tina Fey)


The Amazing World of Gumball


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Amazing World of Gumball by kisaldivar (This teen loves the show’s “immaturity”)


American Idol


  1. My Favorite TV Show: American Idol: Dream Achiever by krmurphy91 (This show helps people achieve their musical dreams)


Arrested Development


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Arrested Development-My Kryptonite by ariana.gros (The humor is level-headed and clever)


Awkward


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Why Awkward has made me love my own awkwardness by gsobol (“It’s nice to find a kindred spirit in TV”)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Awkward by krissy333 (Jenna is an inspiring role model)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Awkward by ayotayler335 (This teen really relates to this show)


The Bachelor


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Bachelor: Every Rose has its Thorn by sjluvsu (This teen loves the suspense and intrigue that comes with finding love)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: The Bachelor makes me yearn for a fairytale by haleybopc8 (She watches this show every week with her mom)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Why The Bachelor is Awfully Addicting by jamiedanielletrevino (This teen is confused for her love for The Bachelor)


The Big Bang Theory


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory by student1 (Big Bang Theory humor doesn’t discriminate)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory never disappoints by jjstein (This teen enjoys situation comedy)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory: Following in the footsteps of Dr. Sheldon Cooper by CrownJewel (This show provides a humorous insight into relationships)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory: Hilarious, Strange, and Addicting by adeliemelon (This show enforces the idea that everyone can get along)


The Biggest Loser


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Biggest Loser makes me feel healthy, socially accepted, and hopeful by thesewordsispeak (Watching this TV show is like therapy)


Blue Exorcist


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Blue Exorcist by Kyura_Toshi (This show is about two sons of Satan)


Boy Meets World


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Boy Meets World makes me want to live my teenage years by badwillhunting (This teen was inspired to dream and do good for Mr. Feeny)


Breaking Bad


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad has Me Breaking Curfews by sb14 (This teen loves the perfect execution of creativity and plot twists)


Buckwild


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Buckwild by taylor williams (This show, and Honey Boo Boo, are crazy and carefree)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer


  1. My Favorite TV Show: In Defense of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by WilliamKosh (Buffy is a response to the anti-woman plot of many horror shows)


The Carrie Diaries


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Carrie Diaries Becomes My Second First Kiss by idreamy (She loves the fun plots and exciting romance)


The Colbert Report


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Colbert Report: a steady stream of satire by OliviaZZZ5 (This satirical news show challenges us to think critically about current hot topics—and also amuse us)


Criminal Minds


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds by Scathach24 (This teen loves the humor, suspense, and characters)


Dance Moms


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Dance Moms, is it really a reality? by anaxoxo (Not all reality TV is real)


Degrassi


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Degrassi: The Rise of the Next Generation by xJ3SSICA (This show is about opening up lines of communication for tough issues for teens)


Doctor Who


  1. My Favorite TV Show: How Doctor Who Has Won My Hearts by LavedaVida (The Doctor made her better)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Doctor Who: The Adventures of The Raggedy Doctor by PHILosophical (This teen loves the emotional growth and storylines)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Why Doctor Who has raised my standards for television by mich_shelly17 (This teen only watches quality TV, and Doctor Who is definitely quality)


Downton Abbey


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Downton Abbey by hannahrose401 (This show has British charm, humor, and most of all, drama)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Downton Abbey has Me Down on the Couch by Julie (This history buff loves the drama)


Fresh Prince of Bel Air


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Fresh (and lovable) Prince of Bel-Air by matbkim (We watch this show to laugh)


Game of Thrones


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones: Westeros: My Home Away From Home by meierj1 (This teen loves the real life feel of this show)


Glee


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Glee by nikila (This show showed her self-confidence)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Glee by munchell (This show is about following your dreams)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Glee by Sunshine47 (She is inspired to dream about her future)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: How Glee has Changed Me by pearlemerson (Rachel from Glee taught her to fight for her dreams)

  5. My Favorite TV Show: Glee: My life in TV form by andimung (Glee has an amazing portrayal of friendships and hard decisions)

  6. My Favorite TV Show: Glee: Teaching Life Lessons Since 2009 by Lilypad (Glee is fun, entertaining, and realistic)

  7. My Favorite TV Show: Glee by danilaporta (This show is highly addictive)

  8. My Favorite TV Show: I am Glee by Leah Marie (Glee has opened the doors to new opportunities)

  9. My Favorite TV Show: I wish my school was just like Glee by RichieBruce (This teen is disappointed in the new season of Glee, but will continue to watch)


Grey’s Anatomy


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Because Who Watches Grey’s Anatomy for the Medicine? by kristiana27 (These characters are very human)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy: I think a little bit of Meredith Grey is in me by rosh (Make every moment count)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy lets me leave the world I live in by curraghkeys88 (TV is healthy; it revives the soul)


Go Diego, Go!


  1. My Favorite TV Show: An adventure in every episode! (Go Diego, Go!) by noodleruby (This teen’s curiosity was improved with this fun children’s show)


Gossip Girl


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Gossip Girl helps me escape reality by rileymcm (Watching TV is a great way to relax)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Gossip Girl: Every girl’s dream and every girl’s nightmare by christianrolson (This show is her guilty pleasure)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Gossip Girl: The Life I Envy and Despise by gngguarnieri (This show acts as a catharsis for teens who don’t get to “live”)


Guy Code


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Guy Code by jmc488 (This show is good for a laugh)


How I Met Your Mother


  1. My Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother by Dylan_Burnell (This show makes him laugh)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother… for the 18th time by gracechi4 (This teen has a soft spot for NPH)


I Love Lucy


  1. My Favorite TV Show: I Love Lucy: I do something crazy everyday with Lucy! by Spiritone7 (She loves this silly 60s show)


Jewel in the Palace


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Jewel in the Palace Showed me the Jewel of My Life by haelen (This teen felt empowered by this show)


Keeping Up with the Kardashians


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Keeping Up with the Kardashians by manson (This teen loves the drama)


Law & Order


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Law & Order by Shootingstars12 (Teens can learn a lot from this show)


The Legend of Korra


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Legend of Korra: So obsessed I start to become part of the show by horsesrunwild34 (This teen imagines herself part of a world with benders)


Life


  1. My Favorite TV Show: When Life gives you lemons, watch it by kennainky (This teen discovered this show on Netflix and can’t look away)


Mad Men


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Mad Men is my time machine by mjism (This show lives up to its hype)


Mighty Boosh


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Mighty Boosh by cdsnotmp3s (This show, and Sherlock, are especially addictive British TV)


Modern Family


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Modern Family: When I steal the remote and there’s no compromising by navosamarakoon (She loves the hilarious plots and burning questions)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Modern Family: portal to American normality by matt1201 (Modern Family is a blend of American culture)


Monk


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Mr. Monk by dragonmaster01 (This teen loves the mystery and humor Monk brings to crime solving)


Motorcity


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Motorcity and the World Beneath the Exterior by Wonderwelle (This teen didn’t want to be a fan… at first)


My Little Pony


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Candy-Colored Ponies (From My Little Pony) Make Me Wish for Peace by rosenwingedscribe (This teen learns valuable lessons at the end of each episode)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: My Little Pony: A show despised by much of the world by StripeLife1 (Bronies are judged for watching this show)


NCIS


  1. My Favorite TV Show: NCIS Makes Me Want to Join a Government Agency by Shoshi_Tixx (A dark crime show with a splash of humor)


Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide prepared me for middle school and more by Papples (Ned had practical tips and a great moral compass)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide teaches me that we can learn from even the funniest moments by bridgette1 (This show has practical life lessons and fun moments)


New Girl


  1. My Favorite TV Show: New Girl, New Influence by yaeheebae (This teen sees herself in Jess)


Once Upon a Time


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Once Upon a Time by galumar (Love doesn’t show up on your doorstep; go out and fight for it)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Once Upon a Time makes me wish there was more to this life than what’s on the surface by ccronin2006 (This show blurs the lines between fantasy and reality)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Once Upon a Time, bringing back the childhood by graceO0120 (Her entire family enjoys this show)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: Once Upon a Time enchants me with fairy tale twists by KL94 (She loves this shows’ unique perspectives)


One Tree Hill


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The many events of One Tree Hill never fail to inspire by Tiffyt3e (We all need a little bit of TV in our lives)


Parks and Recreation


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Parks and Recreation: Leslie Knope Gives Me Hope for America by Shoshi_Tixx (This funny show shows everything that can go wrong in a town)


Power Rangers


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by otaku094 (The Rangers were relatable and fun)


Pretty Little Liars


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Pretty Little Liars, My Tuesday Addiction by sophia.rodriguez.90663 (This teen loves the addicting mystery story)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Pretty Little Liars: Why don’t I have a boyfriend like Ezra? by joonhapark215 (This show has suspense, romance, and good-looking boys)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Pretty Little Liars by Erklouise (This show is very suspenseful)


Psych


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Psych by hcarver.95 (This show is both silly and made with great characters and crime)


Revenge


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Why I Can’t Keep My Eyes Off Revenge by thomasb (This show is a thrilling mystery)


Shameless


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Shameless: Drama Queens by danielle_short13 (This teen loves the drama)


Sherlock


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Sherlock proves that smart is the new sexy by kat.talerico (The British do it better)


Skins


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Adolescent World of Skins UK by Afterhours (We can destroy our lives with teenage experimentation, but also lay the foundation for the future with it)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: A Character in Skins Changes My Perspective of Rebels by dreamer1095 (She loves the emotional and realistic characters, like Chris)


SportsCenter


  1. My Favorite TV Show: This is… SportsCenter! by KentSayre (This teen loves staying caught up on the sports world)


Star Trek


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: Trekkie Pride by MadHats (This show’s lack of discrimination is admirable)


Suits


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Suits by Smguerra (This teen feels empowered by this show to become a lawyer)


Supernatural


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Supernatural by Daisuchi (This show lets his imagination relax)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: Supernatural by nicole01 (This teen likes this scary show)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: Supernatural by vividha (The protagonists love each other)


Switched at Birth


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Why is Switched at Birth so addictive? by CreativeLove528 (This show has unique plot lines)


That’s So Raven


  1. My Favorite TV Show: If I could see into the future, I could have escaped sexual and physical abuse: That’s So Raven by student1 (This teen was jealous of Raven)


Top Gear


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Top Gear UK is the only show I bother to watch by T5VZFE (This show has both cars and comedy)


Vampire Diaries


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Vampire Diaries: Addicted?! by CassieEnchanted (This teen loves this dramatic show)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: I’m a Sucker for the Vampire Diaries by new.sage (She loves watching this show with her sister)


Victorious


  1. My Favorite TV Show: Victorious Teaches Me to be Myself by madisvictorious (This cast is extremely talented)


The Walking Dead


  1. My Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead: A Zombie Show with a Heart by Embrrich (She loves the characters emotional struggles—and struggles to stay alive)

  2. My Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead by big writer 95 (This show keeps you on the edge of your seat)

  3. My Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead—Morality in the Time of a Zombie Apocalypse by Vanessa96 (This teen loves the philosophical dilemmas presented in this show about survival)

  4. My Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead by sukianns (This teen loves the apocalyptic feel of the show)


White Collar


  1. My Favorite TV Show: White Collar, story of an irresistible conman by vividha (This show has a cool plot)



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StageofLife.com hosts educational, national, monthly writing and blogging contests for teens and college students.  In its mission to provide students an authentic community to share their opinions and publish their ideas, StageofLife.com will strive to continue its commitment to giving teens and college students a larger voice. 

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Past Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of our past writing contests and teen trend reports from the last four years. Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with teachers, teens, and college students as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

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