MTV’s Representation of the Youth across the Globe

Words:  Fatima Nasir

Media plays a significant role in youth culture. Children and teenagers are most likely to idealise media products i.e. television shows, movies, music.

MTV is a global favourite with the youth, it’s various TV shows fictional and non-fictional inspire the young generation. Viacom.Inc owns the network with headquarters in New York.

The Network has branched from its first channel MTV (USA) to MTV (UK and Ireland). Further expanding in Asia, MTV (India), MTV (Pakistan), MTV (China). Other than ones mentioned, MTV has launched in around 50+ countries around the world.

Owned by the same parent company each branching channel follows a similar format and resembling content. The content influences youth’s dressing, lifestyle, day-to-day interactions, social conduct etc.

The role media plays in the lives of naive youngsters is significant, it is essential to regulate what’s being put on the channels.

I remember not long ago turning into a snooty teenager with my cellphone and slamming the door on my parents, all I’d picked up from TV shows.

Music videos are increasingly criticised for their vulgarity, sexism, objectification, partial or total nudity, explicit content and depicting unrealistic expectations or ‘#goals’ for the audience.

MTV’s representation of the youth is different in different countries but not necessarily accurate. As an example MTV(India) and MTV(Pakistan) have almost the same content just in different languages as MTV (UK and Ireland) even given the different cultures, religions and lifestyle altogether.

Kids and teenagers on MTV(India) and MTV(UK and Ireland), would be displayed drinking, smoking, dating, having casual sex and getting into relationships. Drinking is illegal under the age of 18 and smoking is injurious for health, there is an absence of proper regulatory bodies to regulate content that is sensitive and possibly influences young individuals i.e. underage drinking, nicotine addiction and drinking and driving(as it is considered cool to be reckless). it is increasingly essential to create guidelines for TV channels to follow avoiding content that can possibly push the youth to break the law or endanger their or someone else’s life.

Teenager feel pressured following the so-called youth culture and are inclined to lose their virginity and get involved in a sexual relationship at an early age or keep getting into wrong relationships, possible expectations and feeling left out could cause young men and women to be open to predators and narcissists feeding on their need to be accepted in the society.

Music videos depict an extravagant life style, a yacht, gold\diamond chains, over-the-top cars and little or no clothing all feeding into their insecurities causing most of them idealise and fall into easy money-making ways.

We ask two people from India, Pakistan and the UK their opinion on MTV’s impact and representation of youth culture.


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