Look Twice, Then Think

This is my very first Movella, and I'm very excited to say that it is my entry into the 'Stand Up On The Huffington Post' article writing competition. Following the set brief, my piece addresses the ever present stereotype in today's society that all teenagers are lazy, obsessed with technology and lacking in creativity, social/interpersonal skills, and I have aimed to try and change the negative outlook of many adults through my journalism. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoy it, and please comment to share your thoughts, it would be very much appreciated! x

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1. LOOK TWICE, THEN THINK

Teenagers = Trouble with a big capital 'T.' Well, in the minds of innumerable adults, anyway. It's sad, but a fact, that teens seem almost to be the new taboo topic. It is all too common that our 'attitudes,' our 'terrible behaviour,' the way in which we are 'inseparable from technology,' are all put under the metaphorical microscope that is the all-too-discerning eye of the average grown-up.

 

I always feel that the attitude displayed towards a nation of teenagers in today's society, is reminiscent of the idiom, 'making a mountain out of a molehill.' Because, more or less, over time, that is exactly what has happened. A problem has been created where there is none. And I am here to try and address it.

 

Alright, so maybe today's generation of young people isn't perfect. But who is? I'm most definitely not speaking alone when I express my feelings that this vastly growing negative perception of young people is starting to cloud the mere possibility that there may in fact be thousands of teens out there who are bursting with creativity, have a thirst for knowledge and who really, truly want to learn.

 

We've all seen the news articles: large bold headlines stating the hopelessness of the country's future with today's young people growing up to run it one day, the front pages splashed with declarations of ASBOs being dealt out (seemingly) left, right and centre - all in all, pages full of statistics serving no useful purpose other than reinforcing the incredibly unfair negative stereotype of a lazy, technology-obsessed 'Playstation Nation' of 13-19 year olds.

 

To say that the internet is often construed as one of the main shortfallings of our generation, with an image springing into the minds of many adults that we are all glued to the screen 24/7, constantly updating Facebook and Twitter, social networking, blogging, playing video games, rather than living in the 'real world' as it were, it is perhaps a little ironic that a quick Google search would instantly prove just how astoundingly creative today's teenagers actually are. Because the vast array of creative writing communities, reading fansites and review forums is testimony to the apparently limitless imagination of scores of young people.

 

Take Youtube for example, where teens create many different vlogs, videos, and present their own original material, from songs to short films or 'documentaries.' If some adults needed tangible proof to bring an end to their scepticism, well, here it is!

 

But on a much greater scale than visual media is undoubtedly the constantly growing world of reading and writing communities. I could go on and on listing website after website, each one specially designed for young people to channel their creativity in written word, but if I did that, I would most probably be here all day! The way has been paved by ever-busy and vibrant organisations including Spinebreakers, formerly Young Writer Magazine, and of course, Movellas, all wonderful experiences involving different aspects of reading, writing, reviewing, critiqueing, and even entering various contests to win prizes.

 

This kind of healthy competition is incredibly positive for young people, who if anything need to grow in confidence rather than frequently get put down by the negative image surrounding them throughout their young lives, and I feel that the internet has, on the whole been absolutely key in encouraging teenagers to explore their creative side and enjoy the thrill of sharing their work with others and developing a love for books, poetry, and, indeed, reading in general!

 

I can't even begin to describe how much I personally love to read and write. From a very early age my parents encouraged a love of books and reading in my siblings and I, so much so that in many ways the local library became my second home as I was growing up. I could never prise myself away from the bookshelves and have always been engrossed in a book of some description.

 

There is, without a doubt, something utterly magical about stories, the way a good one draws you in; compels you to keep reading, and as soon as I was old enough to write, I was making up my own stories and putting pen to paper, as it were, anything from fantasy, to adventure, to realism writing inspired by children/teen authors such as Jacqueline Wilson and Sarah Dessen.

 

What is so lovely about online writing blogs and communities is that I can interact with others who share my passion. There are so many teenagers out there reading and writing just like me that it simply seems wrong that the mistakes of few are affecting the image of thousands.

 

Ultimately, my message: this stereotyping and labelling is damaging, and something needs to be done about it.

 

Olivia, 16

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