Teens Deserve More Respect

Genie Lee, Lifestyle Editor

Being a teenager in this day and age is exciting, vibrant, thrilling and motivating. As teenagers we have a breathtaking constellation of different possibilities at the tips of our fingers.

However, as a member of Gen Z noticing myself and my peers taking advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities, I can’t help but notice that the word “teenager” carries a discouraging connotation.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Kids these days are up to no good.” But this phrase goes further than adults shaking their heads at teenagers as they scroll on their luminescent devices under the covers.

Simply put, teenagers are seen as immature, irresponsible, and naive.

A quick search on the neighborhood app, Nextdoor, with the keyword “teenager,” displays a multitude of poor teenage behavior.

Reckless teenage driving is a frequent topic on Nextdoor. And while it does occur, the flood of comments from adults like “typical teenagers,” “POST THEIR PHOTO!,” and “report to the Moraga police!” seem a bit hasty.

Adults in our community already have a negative view of teenagers, and occasional instances of teenage speeding on Moraga Road only enhances that view.

But the truth is that teenagers are more than just over-sized children to be chastised by anonymous parents on Nextdoor. There is proof enough that teenagers are not stupid, if only a bit less reserved than their parents in their involvement with serious political issues.

Take Greta Thunberg, age 16. Frustrated by the lack of interest in the detrimental impacts of global warming, Thunberg went on a strike outside the Swedish Parliament with only a water bottle and a few homemade signs last year. Since then, she has become globally renowned for her activism on climate change and her fearless attitude towards adults unwilling to make a change.

And yet, she was scoffed at by adults and her peers for skipping school. Rolling Stone reported that Thunberg said, “I tried to bring people to join me… but no one was really interested, so I had to do it by myself.”

Because of her determination to enact positive change she able to gain recognition. However, because of the negative perception adults have about young people, Thunberg was initially rejected.

As teens reach milestones like getting a drivers license, picking a college, and registering to vote, they should be afforded more respect by adults.

Unfortunately, the teenage stereotype is not likely to disappear anytime soon.

It is up to us to prove that our generation is both capable and motivated to impact the world in a positive way.  Perhaps one less reckless teenage driver would help.