Friday, February 10, 2012

We're Not all Delinquets, You Know

It's 8:30 on a Friday night. Somewhere, people are throwing wild parties with wine and marijuana and all the stuff.
As for me, I'm sitting on the couch with three boys. My parents are gone for the next few hours. We're seizing the day by eating ice cream and watching-get this-rated PG cartoons.
Oh, and the boys are my brothers. I'm babysitting while my parents are out on a date. That's probably something important I should mention.
That's my average Friday night. If I'm not mistaken, it's probably not extremely different from what all my friends are doing.
What? But...but...what about all the stories about teenagers who get addicted to marijuana and heroin and the like? What about the graffiti coating the undersides of bridges? What about that girl in Missouri who killed a nine year old just to see how it felt? What about Colombine and those other teenagers who set off bombs in schools?
They're idiots. Sad, messed up idiots. But not all teenagers are idiots, and not all idiots are teenagers.
I'm pretty darn sure most drug addicts, felons, etc., are adults. Look up the statistics if you have nothing better to do.
So why is that the word teenager is practically synonymous with delinquet for anybody who isn't heavily involved with young people?
Simple. Stories about Eliza watching cartoons with her obnoxious yet likeable brothers don't make headlines. News is supposed to be gory and gruesome and gritty. When a seventeen year old boy gets drunk and holds up a convenience store, it's news. Same if that messed up guy is an adult.
But adults spend most of their time with other adults. The adults they know are dentists, architects, graphic designers, lawyers, and maybe the odd felon. If you aren't a parent or teacher or church youth group adviser, these news reports are almost all you hear about teenagers.
That's not all. My mom showed me an article about risky teen behavior. Here's a section.
"As Tara Parker-Pope notes of teens this week in New York Times Magizine, "the current generation is, well, a bit boring when it comes to bad behavior. Among the evidence is data showing that they're less likely to smoke marijuana than their parents were and less likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and take drugs than their folks 30 years ago."
Teens are "far less likely to have sex or get pregnant" than their parent's generation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. Despite depictions of teens on TV shows that would indicate otherwise, "This is more media hype around the kids who are raising heck*," Dr. John Santelli, president-elect for the Society for Adolesent Health and Medicine, told her. "There are lots of kids who are pretty responsible."
That means either
1: Teenagers today are smarter
2: All those anti-bad behavior programs are actually working
3: We have cell phones. There's no need for your old fashioned forms of entertainment.

*Not the word he used, but my mom reads this. And she's picky.

1 comment: