VOX presents our editors’ top picks of responses that emerged from teens at our writing workshop at Cross Keys High School in partnership with the Latin American Association, in spring 2015. VOX asked teens: What’s something today’s teens have expertise to talk about in our communities? What would you say if you have the microphone and the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions about today’s teen generation?
Sexual Harrassment. Many teens from our generation have gone through something like this. Many teeneagers hide what’s going on. Parents, family, members and many others can be involved in these situations.
Teens feel scared of what’s going on. Some would hide it, some would fight it. I hid it. I his it deep within myself. I didn’t tell anyone until recently. I feel like I should tell you this because many of us are going through this or have gone through this.
I was in the 2nd grade grade when this occurred. It was one of my mom’s friends who was living with us at the time. He was nice with me and my brothers and sister. My dad was always in and out of my life. One day he started touching me inappropriately. When I tried to get away, he told me that if I ever told anyone, I’d pay the price. He continued to touch me every chance he got. I remember crying myself to sleep at times. He eventually moved away, and I never saw him again until three years later. He acted as if nothing happened, and I did the same.
I didn’t tell my mom until last year. She was disappointed that I had never told her. She was furious at the man and threatened him that if he ever came near us she would call the cops. We never saw or heard about [him] since then. Still, I feel sad at times, and I also feel like crap.
I advise teens to please immediately talk to an adult. To not keep it in. I built my walls up. I painted those walls with smiley faces. I don’t want other teens to go through what happened to me. I want teens to know that you aren’t alone.
There are many teens who go through this. Don’t be afraid to let it all out.
Angel Perez, 15
Today’s generation uses social media to communicate now. Talking on the phone has decreased, but texting is an everyday common action. Now, people talk bad about each other on social media, even when no one really knows the other person’s problems.
The same way a highlighter is used to highlight important phrases and key words, my life has highlights that can’t be erased. Images that won’t fade away.
Lizzet Ramirez, 15
Today’s generation is more advanced in terms of being able to express their opinions to their community. We are able to have our own voice and be able to express ourselves in several ways. We may be looked down upon by many adults but we continue to have the determination to be true to ourselves.
Sandra Apresa, 14
I remember when I was younger, I didn’t know anything about Facebook, texting or Twitter. I was so focused on playing with the mud outside, spending time with those who I called friends. Kids back then we [were] so innocent. We didn’t know any of the things kids talk about now. It’s pretty amazing how society has changed in just a couple of years. How the world is changing kids’ minds, making them think that social media has it all. That it’s more important to make a Facebook “status” and worry about how many “likes” or “shares” you get. Everyone is forgetting the real world. Kids now would rather stay in to watch a screen rather than going out and enjoying the real world.
It’s becoming really easy for kids to find any kind of information on social media. Kids are finding more information than what they are supposed to too. Social media and technology are becoming a huge problem. Kids are not being kids anymore. They are being trapped by our own inventions.
Luis Monterroso-Franco, 15
Today’s generation knows too much about video games and stuff to do with technology. Everywhere I look, it’s “Did you hear about the new video game that just came out?” I don’t know or even care about most of these games for the most because I don’t have a game system and I like to go out.
Other kids are speaking about the new phone or watch or some other new tech stuff. I like technology, but I’m not watching for the next new Apple product to come out. If I like some kind of fancy technology, I buy it. But I’m not going to brag that I stood up all night to get the next iPhone, Playstation or XBox.
When I came here, it was very difficult to write or understand English. To have a better life, I want to understand English well, so I can help other people who would like to learn English. I came here to do something good in my life and I’m going to keep doing my best, so one day I can tell other kids how my life was and share it with them.
Today’s generation knows a lot about sadness and depression. Depression is one of the causes of suicide. A lot of people go through depression and don’t know what to do about it. They usually stay quiet because their friends might make fun of them or bully them.
Depressed people need someone to talk to but usually they never have a best friend or someone by their side. That’s probably why they cut or self harm. So be that one friend or person to help the sad person. Too bad for me, depression hit me when my girlfriend broke up with me. Music was my only friend. I had to distance myself from my break up. Luckily for me, one of my friends texted me and helped me through the pain. He wasn’t too late to help me through the sadness.
Salvador Martina, 16
Today’s generation is built on the profound basis of twerking, explicit music and poor dress. An apparent culture rises from the customs of our sophisticated media distribution. Nowadays, ask a student about derivatives and you’ll get no answer. But then ask them about the latest dubstep beats, and they can recite entire songs.
We don’t all fall under this category. But those who do are changing modern values and affecting society. For the better or worse, who’s to judge?
Kelvin Gonzalez, 16
When I was a youngster, times seemed simpler and clearer than my teenage self. All I hear today that teens care about is being cool, living a dangerous and exciting life and ignore the importance of one’s self image. If you aren’t partying or are still a virgin who tucks in their shirts, you’re considered an outcast or, in other terms, a loser. Around school, the importance of doing great in a class or even graduating for that matter has been a desire shrunken down to only a select few.
Our generation focuses more on having “swag” or living the “thug life” and because of that teens are degrading not only our generation but themselves as well. However, it’s important not to label all of us that way. There are those of us who still want to do great and have achieved greatness. Our generation just needs a wake up call to motivate us to do great and not to see education and following higher orders as “uncool”. If we just realize that we all have potential to do great but need to wake up and focus because we all have something to contribute.
Daniel Martinez, 16
Time is something that many teens struggle with. Personally, I have struggled making time for friends, family, sleep and after-school activities. I start the day at 6 in the morning to take a shower and get changed. At 6:30, I usually take a nap until 6:50. At 7, I catch the bus to school only to find myself asleep by the time we arrive at school. At 7:50, the bell rings, and we go to our classes. By the end of 4th period, it is 3:10 p.m. and I, like many others, head to an after-school activity. In the fall, I head to robotics, spending time working on robot sometimes until 11 p.m., only to find it not working and spending more time on it the next day.
In the spring, I play Varsity baseball with games lasting until 8 p.m., only to get home and help my dad out at the family business. I still have homework for my AP classes. I’ll be lucky to go to sleep by 2 a.m.
For some teens of this generation, they would say that’s nothing, but after days and days of it, it can really affect someone.
On weekends, I find myself working at the family company. All the adults I’ve met tell me to continue my education and not to end up like them. I’m always hoping not to be disappointed.
Abril Valente, 14
Gay. Lesbian. Bisexual. Straight. This always comes up as a problem everyday. Many will ask me if I’m for or against gays. My answer will always be the same: I am for those people. In my opinion, I see nothing wrong with this. They never murdered anyone. They never hurt anyone. They never disturbed anyone. And yet they are seen as a problem to society. Some people will look at my response and say that I know nothing. I hear, “it’s disgusting” or “that’s not right.”
Those responses are so childish. That’s what I sometimes think that we are. . . children. These people do have feelings. They hurt. They’re called monsters but they’re not. They’re human beings just like everybody else. All they ever did was love someone. It’s not funny to hear that a homosexual committed suicide or is being tortured everyday. I just wish that everyone would open their eyes and see them for who they really are. Humans. Nothing less and nothing more.
Maybe someday we can all grow from being bratty children into real adults. I’ve never experienced something like this but seeing a gay couple happily walking down the streets always seems to make me smile.
Today’s generation is completely careless. By completely careless, I mean not doing classwork, not showing up to school most of the school year, disturbing the classroom and, of course, when they do show up for class, they always open their mouths to make a senseless comment that isn’t funny.
Although there are rare exceptions, there are very few, and that bothers me because there are so many ways to access information and get in a good place in life. But most teens are preoccupied about how many “likes” they get on a picture they post on Instagram or Facebook.
Adan Barreto, 15
Teens these days are getting stupider. The greater access to technology is both a good and bad thing. We now have access to more knowledge than ever before but we also have more lies being spread. Our generation doesn’t go online for knowledge, we go to Twitter, Facebook or Reddit, fun sites just for fun.
The media is another thing making us more stupid. Our favorite celebrities are glorifying drugs and violence and we soak it in like a sponge in water.
Our generation is reaching a point where we care more about fame than knowledge which is kind of sad. I see very little hope for our generation.
Click “Atlanta Teen Voices” to hear from teens throughout the metro Atlanta community!