EDITORIAL: Stereotypes about teenagers do not represent us accurately

Adolescents and teenagers are widely viewed as lazy and technologically dependent because of theatrical portrayals of the “stereotypical teen” in movies and on television shows.  In songs, the singer’s foolish teenage years in which they did not know anything are often referenced.  Some books portray us as being whiny, do-nothings who are relationship obsessed and not considerate of our actions and the consequences that they bring.  We are considered a joke and unworthy of true consideration until some point through college or life when we somehow become human to the rest of the world.

I am sure everyone has heard at least once that our generation does not know how good we have it, and that is true to an extent.  Technology seems infinite now.  We have access to the world at our fingertips, which some choose to utilize and some choose to not.  Teenagers today have all these opportunities and possibilities because of all the help we are receiving from people who want to help the next generation.  That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the fact that the help isn’t enough for all of us?  What about the really smart kids that are being judged through the same system as the kids who are not on their educational level, and yet are considered equivalent?

This problem seems to have no answer and that might be the worst part of all because what if there never is a solution.  All the jokes and conspiracy theories about how the system is fixed might be hyperbolized for humor/dramatic affect, but it has to have some basis, right?  Some form of starting point?  If the older generations don’t have a cure, how are we expected to?

Teens today have to go through so much so as to be noticed and recognized as the missing link to society because we are told that if you are not special then you will not make it in the future.  There is a quote by Margaret Mead that states, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique.  Just like everyone else.”  The ridiculous stories on the news about the rowdy, “typical” teens miss an entire aspect of who we are.  We cannot be grouped into one category or another; no one is that shallow, although we are pegged that way because of where we are at in life.  It is age discrimination.

Community service activities nowadays, are practically mandatory for college acceptance or school programs like Student Council, National Honor Society, and so on.  We have school obligations and familial obligations and job obligations and the pressure is so intense that not a lot of teenagers can take it.  And that is understandable, because it is a lot of work.  But still students donate time, time that could be spent selfishly, on things such as community service.  Our overall generosity helps the community and school in several ways and helps prepare those who come after us, helps set examples.

We are the future and we are treated like children.  So much is expected of us, expectations are set so high because of the insane competition among ourselves for holding that #1 position, whatever it may be in.  We have seen blood and gore in movies, we’ve become desensitized to war because of the news and theatrical portrayals, we deal with gang violence, pregnancy, disease, corruption, obligations, and we are portrayed as insignificant and petty because we are young.  For some that may be true, but for others-for most-we have lived on a crazy locomotive that makes no pit stops and doesn’t slow down for bumps in the road.  We are young, yes, but we are not naïve.

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