Life in the teen lane can be difficult at times, and maneuvering unfamiliar roads can result in missed exits, landing in pot holes, unpleasant dramas and dead-end detours. Yet the majority of teens have a social conscience and most are striving to do well.
Unfortunately, they don't make the headlines, and some teens feel they are unfairly stereotyped by adults. "After all," teens say, "we don't participate in white-collar crime like the Enron scam, cheat on our wives or taxes or start wars. Why don't adults monitor and criticize their own behavior a little more? We want to be viewed as individuals and not stereotyped."
Recently, Pulse reporters asked teens what stereotypes bother them the most. Here are their responses.
"I hate to say it, but they (stereotypes) are true." — Ben Hansen, junior, West High School
"I think the most offensive stereotype against teens is that we don't care. About school, the world problems or anything. But it really does affect us, and we really do care. I watch the news. I watch the president slur his speeches, and I care what he means." — Daley Owens, junior, West
"That they're uninformed. Teens know a lot more than they're given credit for." — Amanda Barrett, senior, Provo High School
"Teenagers are naturally immature and have a tendency to be reckless drivers. A lot of teenagers are bad drivers, but not all of them!" — Angel Wray, senior, Hillcrest High School
"We are underestimated. . . . Adults see us as way too incompetent to handle normal life." — Rebecca Herring, senior, Riverton High School
"The most offensive stereotype is that everyone thinks that we are bad drivers." — Sam James, senior, West
"I found that only the most unintelligent adults have a stereotype against teenagers for being unintelligent." — Russ Huiskamp, senior, West
"Ninety-nine percent of the time the stereotype of 'bandies' is correct, but that 1 percent of us is actually normal." — Tim Paulos, senior, Provo
"I think it is the whole thing about how all we think about is sex, drinking and drugs. It is not true, because a lot of us are good kids, and we do good things." — Sean Wayne, senior, West
"I don't like that people think we just skip school all the time. I haven't been absent or tardy since third grade." — Billy Wait, sophomore, Provo
"Adults believe our opinions are flawed, that we haven't experienced the world and have no right to make an opinion or judgment on it." — Matt Facer, senior, Riverton
"That we're all stupid. It's just that everyone assumes that we're stupid. Some of us are, but not all of us." — Jessica Li, junior, Provo
"I think that the most offensive stereotype of teenagers is the belief that we are completely irresponsible . . . that we have no direction, and without our parents help, we would fall into a deep, dark hole." — Sarah Paulos, junior, West
"What is offensive to me, being a teenager, is we tend to get looked down upon. Not all of us are irresponsible, drink or do drugs. I don't do all that. I am responsible, I have a job, go to school, do housework, do homework. I do what I am supposed to do." — Jacob Rodriguez, senior, West
Marissa Brown is a junior at West High School, Chris Bliss is a senior at Riverton High School and Nate Perkins is a senior at Provo High School. All are members of the Deseret Morning News Pulse team of high school writers. If you are a Utah high school student and have a topic you would like to see covered, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Susan Whitney at the Deseret Morning News.