It Can Be Anyone This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Shoplifting is a rising problem nowadays, especially among teenagers. Much like AIDS has been stereotyped as a homosexual disease, shoplifting is often considered something only "bad kids" do. An eleventh-grade girl feels only people "without a conscience" shoplift, but this is a dangerously wrong judgment. The truth is: it can be anyone.

Some teens say they shoplift because they don't want to spend money, wait in line, or give in to peer pressure. Surveys show that most high school students have swiped something at some point, but there are also kids for whom it has grown to be a habit, a ritual. And it isn't necessarily the kid who cuts classes to get stoned. It could be the kid sitting next to you in your AP European History class.

For some teens, shoplifting becomes a coping mechanism. Many come from dysfunctional families, have extreme parental pressure to get the highest grades in the hardest classes and still have to be a star athlete. The teen may turn to shoplifting in order to control something in their chaotic, stressful life. Often they steal inexpensive items they could have easily afforded and they describe it as "a rush, like drugs."

But if the rush ends and you get caught, your entire future may be in jeopardy. One sophomore said she and a couple of friends were caught stealing, back in junior high school. "We got a police record but it was supposed to disappear when we turned sixteen. It was a bad experience, mostly because, to this day, my parents never let me forget the incident." Like many teens, the addiction was too strong and getting caught wasn't enough to make her stop. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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