Friday, July 4, 2008

What Are Teenagers Watching These Days?

As my girlfriend tuned in to watch America's Best Dance Crew, MTV's iteration of the reality show/dance competition genre, I remembered that this show was one of the most popular among my 9th grade students last year. I think we all try to keep up with pop culture as we struggle to deliver our content in a way that will relate to our students, and so my next thought was, what are teenagers watching these days?

I know that television is being pushed aside for video games and the Internet more and more, but when they do watch television, what are they watching? I did some research online, but the information available for these demographics are extremely limited. Thinking back to my last few years of teaching this age group, here are my guesses:
  • America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC for the uninitiated) and occasionally other MTV programming (My Super Sweet 16, for example)
  • Family Guy
  • Everything on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim
  • Much of what's on Comedy Central (South Park, Mind of Mencia, Daily Show and Colbert)
  • World Wrestling Entertainment programming (Raw on Mondays, Smackdown on Fridays)
  • The "Kids Cable Trifecta": Disney Channel, ABC Family and Nickelodeon
I don't know how many of them were caught up in the High School Musical phenomenon, but I imagine many were. I think very few were obsessed with any reality shows beyond those mentioned, even American Idol or The Hills (if you believe the latter is truly "real"). Occasionally students would mention something interesting they saw on the Discovery Channel or History Channel, which always brought a smile to my face.

I don't know if these observations are completely valid, or if they are similar to what teenagers are watching in other places. I'm curious to know what others (not only teachers) have observed. Please send in your feedback and let everyone know what you know!