(WTVO) — According to a new study by the University of California, Generation Z is less interested in seeing sex and romance portrayed on screen and would prefer to watch platonic friendships.
The study surveyed 1,500 young people and found that nearly 40% wanted to see non-romantic relationships in entertainment, with the majority of respondents saying that romance was overused in media.
The survey included youth from ages 10-24 but asked questions relating to sex and romance to a subset aged 13-24, NPR reported.
“When there’s media with too much sex, me and my friends often feel uncomfortable,” a teen named Ana, 16, said.
The study also found that 56% of adolescents said they prefer original content over franchises and remakes; favored seeing a Black man as the hero of an episode or movie; and want to see “lives like (their) own” shown on screen, a departure from the previous year’s responses to the survey, which said they wished to see “lives unlike (their) own.”
“Young people are feeling a lack of close friendships, a separation from their community, and a sense that their digital citizen identity has superseded their sense of belonging in the real world,” researchers Stephanie Rivas-Lara and Hiral Kotecha said.
“We know that young people are suffering an epidemic of loneliness and they’re seeking modeling in the art they consume,” said study co-author Yalda Uhls. “While some storytellers use sex and romance as a shortcut to character connection, it’s important for Hollywood to recognize that adolescents want stories that reflect the full spectrum of relationships.”
A 2021 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 30% of teens said they’d had sex at least once before, a decline from 38% in 2019 and a 50% drop from decades prior, according to The Guardian.