Teens: lazy and game-obsessed? I don't think so!

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1. Teens: lazy and game-obsessed? I don't think so!

One of the biggest stereotypes rolling round the media now is that all teenagers are lazy, tech-obsessed and hate reading. While there are some young people who are like this, the majority are the complete opposite. Just by taking a quick stroll into the Young Adult section of any bookshop or having a look around the website Movellas shows how many teenagers adore reading and writing.

I am a fourteen year old girl who has a drawer under her bed to keep a huge collection of notebooks, folders and files safe from prying eyes – and each one is bursting with my stories and ideas. I’ve always been a daydreamer. When I was little, it was nearly always me who came up with pretend games for me and my friends to play. The idea of making these games into stories came to me when I was eight. The only difference between now and then is that I write down my ideas rather than playing them with my friends.

The stereotypes are unfair and wrong. There is little evidence for such a broad assumption and it doesn’t apply to me at all. First of all, it is my mum who is addicted to Facebook and Twitter; you can count on her to be clicking away on her BlackBerry. I, however, have never had a Twitter account and I deleted my Facebook page because I hardly ever went on it. Secondly, I only own a couple of video games – and even then they’re things like Lego Harry Potter and Professor Layton – whereas my five year old brother is addicted to the Wii and loves playing games on the computer. Even my dad is constantly buying fancy new gadgets.

You see how unlike the stereotypes I am? And it’s not just me either. There are plenty of teens out there who are furious about how their generation is being labelled.

I’m not saying that no teenagers play video games. Loads of people my age have PSPs and XBoxes, but they aren’t overly-obsessed with them. The games are fun, yet most teens will agree that books will always be better.

I’m not saying that all teens spend every spare minute reading either. Many like books and enjoy reading one every now and then, although, sadly, there are a couple who rule out the prospect of books completely. But there aren’t enough teenagers like this for there to be such a strong stereotype.

As a matter of fact, there are a fair few adults who would never even consider reading a book. I’m forever picking out the mistakes in signs and notices. There shouldn’t be an apostrophe there or that sentence needs a semi-colon, I find myself thinking. Shouldn’t all adults be into reading (and therefore picking up the correct use of punctuation and grammar) if they are all so quick off the mark to place stereotypes over teens?

I have been on the receiving end of unjust assumptions from adults. The other day I was in the History section of the bookshop, looking for anything interesting on the Industrial Revolution (a topic I love learning new things about) when a man – about 65 to 70 – walked over to me and said ‘What are you doing here? The clothes shop is on the other side of the street!’. I think he was joking, but I was still upset by his words – so now teenagers can’t be into History? I thought.

Another time, I was going to a huge firework show on Bonfire Night with my parents and little brother. There were people holding collection tins and trying to gather as much money as possible to help pay for next year’s fireworks. My little brother dropped a few coins into the nearest tin and the lady holding it thanked him with a cheesy smile on her face. But when I put some money in the tin, she simply muttered a thank you and hastily walked away in the other direction. I’m used to people cooing at my little brother and his cuteness, but that behaviour was unnecessary and – above all – hurtful. I couldn’t understand how she could have treated us so differently just because of our ages.

Now do you see how far these unfair stereotypes have spread? Do you see how wrong they are? So stereotyping adults – I’m speaking directly to you now – change the way you think about teenagers and develop a better insight to what the ‘youth of today’ are really like. Think about the many teenagers who, like me, take pride in their imagination and have a passion for writing. Just think about it.

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