Who hasn't heard this before? It's an ever-present phrase in a society with growing prejudice against youth. Retail workers will glare suspiciously at large groups of teens roaming the aisles. At the first thought, these glares seem to be justified. After all, 25% of shoplifters are below the age of eighteen. But stop and do the math and you will discover that 75% are adults. That means that there are three times as many adults pocketing merchandise as youth. Now stop to think about what they're stealing. Teenagers mostly steal for the thrill. They take small things, like Skittles and lip gloss. It would be very hard for them to getaway with a stolen iPod. After all, they have parents to explain to. "IPod? What iPod? Oh, that one? It was, uh, lying on the side of the road?"
Adults aren't so easily excited about the novelties of candy and cosmetics. But DVD's? Fashion accessories? Sure, why not? Nobody's going to notice. At least, not that employee keeping an eye on the highly suspicious twelve-year-old girls.
Many teenagers find it difficult to even get admitted into a place of business. A classmate of mine went to a restaurant called Red Robin with his friends. The staff didn't take them seriously and kicked them out. Um, hello, you just lost several paying customers.
Really, teenagers are just as human as adults or children, and just as deserving of human rights. Age isn't some grand accomplishment and youth is not a sin. Let's try to be more tolerant.