The fine line between innovation and distraction exists in today’s generation. More and more you see teens running to iPhones rather than running toward the local library. Still, the preconceived notion that teenagers do not read is false. “It feels like you’re in another world, but if I had to lose one, I’d lose Twitter. If you lose books or anything like that, you’ll be stupid,” says 16-year-old Dustin Bailey, of the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. In a world of YouTube clips and Vine compilations, it is difficult for authors to capture audiences as attention spans falter. These days, many educators try to incorporate technology into the classroom in an effort to get teens engaged in the curriculum. “Books aren’t something I do every day, but it’s just that reading is too good of an opportunity to miss,” says 17-year-old Eliza Lin, of Boston Latin School. While splashy films, television, and online services hog the stage, the simple pleasures of literacy are not lost on teens. “I like to read,” says Julyn Frazier-Ryan, 17, of the O’Bryant. “I find it enjoyable.”
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Social media has been known as a way to communicate with friends, family, and even strangers. But some teens wouldn’t agree with social media being mixed with parents. Teenagers have their own reasons why they would block their parents on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites. Well, Kevin Lewis, 17, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says he would feel very uncomfortable if his mother was aware of his tweets. Although they are friends on Facebook, Lewis doesn’t stream his personal thoughts, so his mother doesn’t really have much to say about his profile. Twitter is different. “I wouldn’t want to reveal the side of me I know she wouldn’t accept,” he says. Not all teens block their parents because of acceptance issues, though. Carolyn Neil, a junior at the O’Bryant, says she blocked her mother on Facebook because she wants a private life. Though there are plenty of teenagers who do not want their parents to have knowledge of their Internet activity, some teens do not mind. “I would feel comfortable if my father was aware of what I posted,” says Judy Siffra, a junior at the O’Bryant. “I have nothing to hide.”
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As a teenager, I’ve had many different types of relationships -- with adults, friends, boyfriends. I had many people come into my life and make it seem like they were there to stay -- only to end up leaving the same way they came in. One of the hardest things for me is being able to trust someone new with my feelings, my personal information, and most of all my heart. The fear of being emotionally hurt by someone you care about can really sting. Here are some tips on how to build that trust: •Don’t ignore problems; •Stay involved with each other’s feelings; •Don’t lie; •Don’t blame the other person; •Ask questions; •Don’t hide your thoughts inside; •Show loyalty.
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Many people believe the death penalty is a way of getting rid of society’s most dangerous criminals. Others believe it is a form of revenge for the families of victims and that it deters other murders. These feelings often come out after high-profile cases. However, sentencing offenders to death is not the answer. They know they are not going to spend the rest of their lives in a nasty jailhouse, which is worse. To them, death can be an easy way out. That is why many who go on shooting rampages kill themselves before the police get to them. Many people would argue that a mass murderer like accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who is set to go on trial in November and faces the death penalty if convicted, should confront his demise because that is the kind of eye-for-an-eye punishment he deserves. But that would be granting him his wish because he was willing to put his life on the line for his cause. Life in prison would be a better sentence because then he has to live to pay for the pain and suffering he caused other people. I believe that killing killers is murder disguised as punishment. If murder is wrong, then why does the federal government kill people who commit murder? What is the difference between someone who commits murder and someone who punishes that person by killing that person? Another argument people make for the death penalty is that it eradicates the danger murderers pose to society. However, rapists and armed robbers also pose a threat to the public. A rapist could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and then go back to the streets, where he might again rape and possibly kill -- so his victim can’t identify him. Same reason armed robbers transform into murderers. The death penalty is too inhumane to be considered the shortcut to keeping our streets safe. Instead of sentencing people to death, the government should sentence dangerous criminals to life imprisonment with hard labor so that they are working to support the economy -- not taking away from it -- and at the same time paying for their crimes.
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