The portrayal of teenage boys as "yobs" in the media has made the boys wary of other teenagers, according to new research.
Figures show more than half of the stories about teenage boys in national and regional newspapers in the past year (4,374 out of 8,629) were about crime. The word most commonly used to describe them was "yobs" (591 times), followed by "thugs" (254 times), "sick" (119 times) and "feral" (96 times).
Other terms often used included "hoodie", "louts", "heartless", "evil" "frightening", "scum", "monsters", "inhuman" and "threatening".
The research – commissioned by Women in Journalism – showed the best chance a teenager had of receiving sympathetic coverage was if they died.
"We found some news coverage where teen boys were described in glowing terms – 'model student', 'angel', 'altar boy' or 'every mother's perfect son'," the research concluded, "but sadly these were reserved for teenage boys who met a violent and untimely death."
What a Godawful, preachy, fear-filled nation we've become (and I'm paraphrasing an old Kate Wilhelm introduction to a story in Again, Dangerous Vision Can't remember the title of the story, alas, but her introduction seethed with righteous rage.