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Media: How Teens Feel About Real World Issues

Teens and the MediaHow do teens feel about the media and how does the media effect their relationships?

Below is's summary report on teens' attitudes toward the media, compiled from the data, insights and essays shared by students in high school and college participating in's proprietary student writing contest series.

Additionally, below is a collection of over 140 of the essays from high school and college students as they answered the writing contest writing prompt...

"What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?"


How do teens feel about the media?  How is social media effecting teen relationships?  The "media" is an undeniably powerful entity in our daily lives, and even more invasive for teens and college students, a generation growing up with more forms of media choices than any other generation before them.

Student Reach:

Over 5,190 students from all 50 US states and dozens of countries visited the writing contest page during the month of essay contest (March 2011), and scores of high school and college students submitted their thoughts about the media via their 500 word essay.  From the essay submissions, four key themes/trends emerged:

Teen Trends / Themes on the Media:

  1. Internet:  Almost a quarter of the student writers said that Internet was the media that affected them the most. Almost all of the teens cited the same reasons for this: the Internet is the perfect place to research, and to keep in touch with friends and family.

  2. Television:  Many students wrote about the “mind numbing” effects of television. Like the Internet, these writers said they got their information from television. At the same time, television had the most negative responses; students felt that television was very distracting.

  3. Facebook:  Many teenagers cited Facebook as their most influential media, since it connects the students to friends, family, and gossip. Many students were also aware of privacy concerns in using Facebook, as well as larger issues like cyber-bullying.

  4. Overall, Media is Positive:  Although there were some dissenters, the majority of student writers felt that media—in all forms and varieties—is an important, powerful, and positive influence on a person’s life.

The Essays: 

Immediately below, you'll find featured links to the winning essay, our semi-finalists and 140+ other essays from college students and teenagers that answer the question, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?"

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two. 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 post.

Student Writing Contest Winner

Winner:  Media: I Like It Black, White, and Read All Over by sissysulli

High School Finalists:

College Finalists

Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of teen writing contest entry essays about various forms of media / communication.  We've categorized the essay responses into buckets by the media channel discussed in the teen's essay:

How do teens feel about the media?

Teens and Social Networking

  1. Media: The Evils of Social Networking (Social networking removes the humanity from communication)

  2. Media: The Social Network Obsession (Social networking should be used in moderation)

Teens and Cell Phones

  1. Media: Who’s Smarter—The Phone, Or Me? (He loves the smart phone for its convenience in checking the weather, banking, and news)

  2. Media: My best friend and I (Without her cell phone, she would be lost)

  3. Media: The Attention I Give To My Phone (Her cell phone has everything—and she loves it)

  4. Media: A way of life that is used in many different ways by millions of people (Cell phones are great entertainment, but they also have very negative effects)

  5. Media: Mobile Phones (Cell phones are great for convenience, but can also be distracting)

  6. Media: My phone (lThis student is nothing without their phone)

  7. Media: Why My Cell Phone is the Most Important Factor of My Life (She uses her phone to contact her friends and family)

  8. Media: Texting (She uses her phone for everything)

  9. Media: No Cell Phone, No Life (His phone is a luxury, and he uses it for calling, texting, and the Internet)

  10. Media: How I Love My Cell Phone (This student feels incomplete without a cell phone in her life)

  11. Media: Sprint Phone (She uses her phone to keep her information and offer her updates)

  12. Media: What Impacts My Life (She uses her phone to keep in touch with faraway friends, and for its camera feature)

Teens and the General Media

  1. Media: Sinking the Character Ship (Media creates a superficial “real life”)

  2. Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Impact? (The media should warn younger generations about misbehavior and violence)

  3. Media: How media has evolved over the years and changed generations (The media is making children lazy)

  4. Media: And Me (The media is not accurately reporting what is happening in America)

  5. Media: The Ugly Truth (The media negatively affects many people’s self esteem)

  6. Media: If There Was Rehab For Facebook, Cell Phones, and the Radio… Let’s Just Say I Would Be There (Her life is taken over by these three medias)

  7. Media: The Answers to My Questions (She loves TV, the news, music, and fashion)

  8. Media: Entertainment is my life (Media is an expression of your personality)

  9. Media: Our Generation Relies On It (Teenagers today rely too heavily on the media)

  10. Media: The Arts of Technology (There are positive and negative features to computers, TVs, and cell phones)

  11. Media: My Third Parent (This student thinks media is meaningful)

  12. Media: The Control Freak (The media is controlling how teenagers look and act)

  13. Media: I Don’t Know, Google It (The media only has negative effects on people)

  14. Media: Try to Circumvent It (The media has caused us to lose the skill to communicate with each other)

  15. Media: The Basis of a Teenager’s Life (Technology is tearing families apart, and making teenagers lazy)

  16. Media: A Way of Life (Media may not always be used for the best reasons, but it can sponsor great reasons)

  17. Media: The Silent Disease of the World (The media has turned for the worst)

  18. Media: Dead Souls (Do not let the media take over you—think and speak for yourself)

  19. Media: I Want to Look Like Them (The media has negative influences—it drives young people to get cosmetic plastic surgery)

  20. Media: Captive in the Age of the Computer (The media is a barrier to knowledge and emotion)

  21. Media: Children of the Techno-Revolution (The media is this generation’s window to the world)

  22. Media: True or False? (The media offers many opportunities, but you can never tell what is true or false)

  23. Media: In The Eyes Of Shrunken Teenagers (This student takes a “quiet” approach to media)

Teens and the Internet

  1. Media: The World Wide Web (People cannot live without the Internet nowadays)

  2. Media: The Internet Is The Way To Live The Life (The Internet has everything a person could possibly need or want)

  3. Media: Internet Perplexity (He uses the Internet for research and Facebook)

  4. Media: Let’s Stay Connected (The Internet is her “best friend”)

  5. Media: Where Would I Be Without the Internet? (The Internet can have positive or negative results, depending on how it is used)

  6. Media: The Form of Media that Impacts My Life the Most (He uses the Internet to keep up on “bad” things going on in the world)

  7. Media: I Just Can’t Live Without It (The Internet is like a second school)

  8. Media: Social Media World Wide Web (She uses the Internet for research and social media)

  9. Media: Internet: I’m Nothing Without It (He uses the Internet for research, to keep in touch with his old friends, and for the Playstation Network)

  10. Media: Media that Affects My Life the Most (The Internet has positive and negative impacts—he hates seeing degrading videos on YouTube)

  11. Media: A Realm of Distractions (The Internet can be fun, but it can also keep you from doing work)

  12. Media: My date with the internet (The Internet is “taking over the world”)

  13. Media: Internet Impact Lifestyle (Her life revolves around the Internet)

  14. Media: Internet and my life (Internet can be helpful, but very distracting)

  15. Media: Surfing without a Board (Internet is a great way to pass the time)

  16. Media: Weaving Through the Web (The Internet helps her parents keep in touch with family from Thailand, among many other benefits—and some negatives)

  17. Media: Life On The Stream (The Internet is easy to use, and is the best technology)

  18. Media: Singed Threads (Prose piece about how the Internet can keep us from saying things we don’t want to say)

  19. Media: Defining the iGeneration (The Internet imparts actual experience, not just a story)

  20. Media: The Incredible Internet (Not everything on the Internet is accurate)

  21. Media: Internet—The Next Best Thing (The Internet can helps businesses stay competitive)

  22. Media: Just A Click Away! (The Internet is the world’s largest library)

  23. Media: Center of our lives (The Internet can be used for anything; but be careful what you post)

  24. Media: Hanging Onto the Internet (She uses the Internet for Google, Facebook, and AIM)

  25. Media: The Internet, World’s Greatest Connection (The Internet is great for school, news, and entertainment)

  26. Media: Internet—The World’s Greatest Invention (The Internet is a powerful tool, but it can also spread viruses)

  27. Media: Effects of the www… virtually unbelievable (The timeliness and information on the Internet sometimes seems unbelievable)

  28. Media: How the Internet Changed my Life (The Internet allows this student to keep in touch with his father, who frequently travels out of the country for business)

  29. Media: Attention Deficit (The Internet has created a new language of brevity)

  30. Media: Are we really using the internet, or is it vice versa? (Technology is frightening, and preventing us from using face-to-face communication)

  31. Media: Yahoo to YouTube (Internet is the most dynamic form of media)

  32. Media: The Internet (The Internet is the king of all media sources)

  33. Media: Where Would I Be? (Email helped her reach out to her friends states away)

Teens and Television

  1. Media: TV is the one form of media that impacts my life the most (TV is great entertainment, but it is not real life)

  2. Media: The Difference Between Newscasters and Whom They Inform (Newscasters indifferently give the news; it is up to the people to take action)

  3. Media: Dominance of the Mind (Poetry about she is obsessed with TV)

  4. Media: My Life From TV (He relies on TV for important information)

  5. Media: Television Handicap (This student uses television for entertainment, and to keep in touch with the outside world)

  6. Media: A Teen’s Lifeline (TV keeps him informed about world news, celebrities, fashion, and sports)

  7. Media: The Vortex (TV has the power to influence our thoughts)

  8. Media: Motion Picture Companion (TV is her companion, and she is glad her family bought a new TV)

  9. Media: Television’s Impact On My Life (This student has learned many things from watching TV)

  10. Media: Television Monster (TV is great entertainment, but it can be very distracting)

  11. What form of media most affects your life, and why? (Media negatively affects teenagers lives)

  12. What form of media impacts your life, and why? (The Internet is both a news source and a form of entertainment)

  13. Media: Life Without Television (He uses the TV to get all kinds of information)

  14. Media: Stuck Like Glue to the Screen (Personification piece about how controlling TV was)

  15. Media: Why television makes such a big impact on my life (TV can impact people’s lives positively and negatively)

  16. Media: The Invisible Heroine (A Chinese TV show has helped his friend almost achieve her dream)

  17. Media: We Are All Susceptible (The media negatively affected this student’s body imagine)

  18. Media: An Albatross (Watching TV allows this student to form her own opinions about world events)

  19. Media: Its Effects On Normal Life (Too much TV can lead to a violent and immoral lifestyle)

Teens and Blogs

  1. Media: Trollolol (Tumblr has a great sense of humor)

  2. Media: My Mental Health Checker (She loves blogs that inspire and encourage her)

Teens and Books/Print

  1. Media: My Unnatural Obsession (She loves reading books—not Nooks)

  2. Media: I Like It Black, White, and Read All Over (Although electronic media is popular, it will never surpass the trust of print media)

  3. Media: Always In Existence… When in Print, That is (She dreams of writing for a print newspaper)

Teens and Facebook

  1. Media: The Facebook Juggernaut (Facebook has an undeniably powerful presence)

  2. Media: Without You I’d Be Lost (A poem about how much she loves Facebook)

  3. Media: My Addiction (She likes reconnecting with old friend and making new friends)

  4. Media: Ode to Facebook (She eats, sleeps, and breathes Facebook)

  5. Media: Facebook—The New Way to Communicate Around the World (Facebook is a great way to communicate with anyone)

  6. Media: Facebook Knows a lot About That (Facebook has positive benefits—connecting with friends—and negative factors—cyber bullying)

  7. Media: Life on Facebook (Facebook impacts a person’s social life)

  8. Media: Why Facebook is My Source of Media (Facebook has the latest news and gossip)

  9. What media impacts you the most? (Facebook is used for connecting with friends and family, and to play games)

  10. Media: The Center of my Life (She uses Facebook to socialize, since she is quiet in school)

  11. Media: How do you know? Facebook! (This student has met some very important people in his life through Facebook)

  12. Media: Facebook and My Life (Facebook has taught her tact and privacy)

  13. Media: My life on Facebook (Facebook can be fun, but it can also lead to drama)

  14. Media: Facebook Frenzy (Facebook offers portals to communication)

  15. Media: Facebook Addiction (Facebook is a way for us to advertise ourselves)

Teens and Celebrities

  1. Media: Effects on Teens (Celebrities are too self-centered and powerful)

  2. Media: Made of Plastic and Little Girl’s Dreams (The media affects how we view ourselves; we are all beautiful)

NOTE:  If you didn't see the results from our previous writing contest about Teens and Heroes, you can read that report HERE if you're interested in how teens feel about celebrities.

Teens and Music

  1. Media: What form of music expresses your feelings? (Music lets people express their feelings)

  2. Media: Music, Heart, and Soul (Music is her life—it lets her express her emotions)

  3. Media: Singing Emotions by Music (Music has taught this student to learn from your mistakes and enjoy life)

  4. Media: Is Music Your Life? (Music can help you feel better, but it is not for everyone)

  5. Media: The Way Music Moves Me (She enjoys singing and dancing with her friends)

  6. Media: People use media to connect with each other in many different ways (She listens to music up to four hours a day)

  7. Media: Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear (You are what you listen to)

  8. Media: Creating the Soundtrack of My Life (Music is more than a hobby; it is a lifestyle)

  9. Media: Music in my Life (This writer has grown up with music in her life)

  10. What form of media impacts your life the most, and why? (Music shares important life lessons, but can sometimes leave you feeling sad)

Teens and Gossip

  1. Media: Gossip is My Motivation (Gossip is exciting and dramatic—and it satisfies curiosity)

Teens and YouTube

  1. Media: YouTube (YouTube provides a personal relationship between viewers)

  2. Media: Dare to Dream (YouTube is encouraging her dream of being a singer)

Teens and Texting

  1. Media: The Effect That Text Messaging Has on My Life (She texts from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed)

  2. Media: Can You Live Without It (Texting is an addiction)

  3. Media: Txting (Texting can lead to less personal relationships)

Teens and Computers

  1. Media: Computers (She likes how many things her computer can do)

  2. Media: My Best Friend (Rhyming prose about her connection with her computer)

  3. Media: Everything I need! (Poetry about how much she uses her computer)

  4. Media: Uncovered (The computer holds endless amounts of information)

  5. Media: My Computer (Computers make life much simpler)

  6. Media: Computer—World’s Greatest Technology (The computer helps with schoolwork)

  7. Media: Becoming a Lifestyle (The computer encompasses all medias, and can be controlling)

  8. Media: My One-Arm-One-Hand-Two-Fingered Friend (Personification prose about how much her computer has influenced her)

  9. Media: My Laptop Impacts My Life the Most (She can’t live without her laptop)

Teens and Video Games

  1. Media: The Battlefield (Poem about the addiction of video games)

  2. Media: Inside My XBOX360 (He uses the 360 for games, music, and movies)

  3. Media: PS3 (The PS3 is a good system, but it could include more educational features)

Teens and Photo Editing

  1. Media: Photo Editing Influence (Photo editing is challenging, fun, and free)

Teens and Prayer

  1. Media: Internal Messaging (Prayer provides hope in times when technology cannot allow communication)

Teens and Verbal Communication

  1. Media: Electronic Media and the Decline of Modern Society (Talking to people face-to-face will always remain the most important form of media)

Teens and The News

  1. Media: News (Media is important to stay connected to the news, and to the world)

  2. What form of media most impacts your life, and why? (The news allows people to know what is going on in the world)

Teens and Skype

  1. Media: A Miracle-A Little Thing Called Skype (Skype helped her keep in contact with her friends after moving across the country)

Last Words:  We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the conversation about the media.  To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students:


Stage of Life - Student Writing Contest Press Release

YORK, Pa., May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "media" is an undeniably powerful entity in our daily lives.  It's even more invasive for teens and college students, a generation growing up with more forms of media choices than any other generation before them., a blogging resource for high school students, Baby Boomers, and every life stage in between, wanted to know how teens felt about the media, so they asked its teen and college visitors, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?" as part of its national monthly writing contest series for students.

Over 5,190 students from all 50 U.S. states and 69 countries visited the teen writing contest page.  From the scores of submitted blogs to, four trends/ themes emerged about teens' attitudes towards the media:

1. Internet:   Nearly a quarter of the student writers said that Internet was the media that affected them the most, citing that it's the perfect place to research, and to keep in touch with friends and family.

One contest finalist, Jenny Zhang, of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School from Middle Village, NY, wrote, in her essay entitled,Media: Are we really using the internet, or is it vice versa, "Our fast-paced society demands technology to be always moving at its fastest speed and to the best of it's ability with little to no errors. But has anyone considered the toll the internet has taken on our lives? Technology is frightening. The utmost terrifying development ever created by man. I won't deny that I am a victim of the internet because I find myself drawn to these technologies in ways I never thought I would be."

2. Television:  While some students get their information from television, many wrote about the "mind numbing" effects of this medium. It received the most negative responses; students feel television is "distracting."

Essay finalist, Justina Tran of Garden Grove High School, Garden Grove, CA, wrote, "In essence, the news media presents us with what it thinks we should know, but it's ultimately our responsibility to use that knowledge to make a difference and thus spread hope to those who need it most.  As a wise mentor advised me, two types of people dwell in this world: talkers and do-ers. The news media are fundamentally the talkers and it's up to us to be the do-ers," in her essay Media: The Difference Between Newscasters and Whom They Inform.

3. Facebook: It's no surprise that a large percentage of teenagers cited Facebook as their most influential form of media in their lives, since it connects the students to friends, family, and gossip.  Several students raised privacy concerns about using Facebook in their essays, as well as larger issues like cyber-bullying.

Finalist Riley Brewer, of Rhea County High School from Cookeville, TN, wrote, "The power of Facebook isn't easily defined...I am aware of the most intimate details of my high school classmates' lives; I know who is getting divorced at 22, who is preparing to graduate summa cum laude, who has moved to Vegas to pole dance, and who has traded in football practice for burger flipping. True, I could choose not to read friends' status updates, but I must admit the temptation is too much for a mere mortal to resist," in the essay Media: The Facebook Juggernaut.

4. Overall, Media is Positive: Although there were some dissenters, the majority of student writers felt that media—in all forms and varieties—is an important, powerful, and positive influence on a person's life.

In the essay, Media: Children of the Techno-Revolution, teen blogger Katie Garner, of Vista High school from Oceanside, CA, wrote, "Nearly every aspect of my life, in some way or another, is consumed by the functions of modern technology. But I revel in it, for I am a child of the techno-revolution, an age that has spawned millions of other faithful offspring and captivated our thoughts and imagination. Friends may speak to each other from California to Tokyo without delay. Blogs may swap philosophical concepts or short stories, and people around the planet can share their experiences in a chat room.  So, how could only one form of media possibly affect me when so many intertwine to shape the way I live? These innovations are all strands of the same web. They constantly surround us, my fellow children and I, so that we remain entangled together. Some might find this instant gratification distasteful; but quite frankly, I think it is wonderful."  

Aside from the themes listed above, the student writing contest took in a wide variety of entries addressing various forms of media / communication that included blogs about social networking, cell phones, the internet, television, blogs, books/print, Facebook, celebrities, music, gossip, YouTube, texting, computers, video games, photo editing, prayer, verbal communication, the news, Skype, and the media in general. CEO, Eric Thiegs, stated, "If you get a chance to read these essays, you'll find they are truly amazing when you look at how the students break down and analyze the media.  Our winner, Keilah Sullivan, a home schooled student from St. Louis, MO used a tongue and cheek approach to champion her love for print media in her essay, Media: I Like it Black, White, and Read All Over."

Interested readers can read the summary report and find links to over 140 featured essays about Teens and the Media at

Teens & Media Writing Contest Finalists

  • Kaleigh Somers, James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA., from Royersford, PA
  • Yipeng Xie, Carlisle School, from Martinsville, VA
  • Riley Brewer, Rhea County High School, from Cookeville, TN
  • Jenny Zhang, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, from Middle Village, NY
  • Justina Tran, Garden Grove High School, from Garden Grove, CA
  • D.J. Schaefer, Waukesha South High School, from Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • Keilah Sullivan, Home schooled, from St. Louis, MO
  • Kimmy Tejasindhu, Cajon High School, from San Bernardino, CA
  • Felicia Czochanski, Metuchen High School, from Metuchen, NJ
  • Jennifer Pasatieri, Wellington C. Mepham High School, from North Merrick, NY
  • Andrew Rauh, Divine Child High School, from Dearborn, MI
  • Kammy Liu, John T. Hoggard High School, from Wilmington, NC
  • Katie Garner, Vista High School, from Oceanside, CA
  • Angela N., John F. Kennedy High School and California State University Northridge, from of Los Angeles, CA

May 2011 Writing Contest for High School Students

This month's writing contest for high school students on asks high school students the question, "What was the most difficult thing you overcame this school year?"  From friends to family to graduation to grades to self-esteem, teens go through a lot in the course of nine months.  With graduation just around the corner (and already have happened for many college students), this contest writing prompt has already begun to elicit some unique responses.  Entries will be accepted up till May 30th at Midnight PDT and the essay winner will receive a gift card/cash prize from sponsors like, SWAG, and featured writing status on the site.

About Stage of Life®:  is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community that hosts blogs, information, and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations. Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogsteen trends, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about or an interview with CEO/Founder Eric Thiegs, please call (717) 244-0006, or use the Contact Us  form on the website.


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