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Can't Do It This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Being 17 years old, I am confused about what I am considered old enough to do and what I am not. I can go see certain movies with moderate violence and nudity, but I can't see movies with what is considered excessive violence or nudity. I received a driver's license a year ago. This means I am old enough to handle the responsibility of controlling a vehicle which can take my life or the lives of those around me, but I am still not old enough to go to a certain section of the video store.

In one year I will be 18, I will have the power to participate in selecting the political leaders of this country. I will be considered my own person, I will be able to live on my own and make my own decisions, but I will still have to wait three years before I can legally purchase beverages containing alcohol. So I will legally be considered an adult, mature enough to function without having to rely on a parent or legal guardian, but not old enough to choose what I want to drink. I cannot legally purchase tobacco products, but, wait, we're allowed to smoke at school. I get it: we are allowed to smoke cigarettes, we just aren't allowed to buy them, I guess.

This all makes me wonder, who are these people making decisions about what people my age can and cannot do and when did they lose touch with reality? Minors are always going to have the desire to do something they lack the right to do because knowing their elders can do it only makes them wonder what they are missing.

Teenagers already know about what takes place in R and NC-17 movies so why pique their curiosity by forbidding them access. Teenage drinking and smoking has advanced so far in this society they can't be stopped under any circumstances, but maybe the problems could be limited by a realistic approach. Teenagers getting pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted diseases have also become serious problems which will only get worse until people wake up and start distributing condoms in school. But these problems will continue until people learn to address the problems realistically instead of just telling us we can't do it. n


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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