AFH Photo // Aijanah Sanford
A nation led by a Cheeto Puff, casting a shadow of regression over this country, has a glimpse of hope from the upcoming generationin this new age, television programs geared towards younger audiences are becoming more progressive. As the nation becomes more accepting of minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and those with varying body types, these ideals become reflected into the shows we watch. This of course, raises some controversy from conservative parents and narrow-minded people. Nevertheless, many major stations still go fourth with their scheduled programming.
Disney Channel’s Emmy-nominated Good Luck Charlie became the channel’s first show to present lesbian parents in a way that makes it appear completely normal. This couple played a minor role and stayed on screen for fewer than 10 minutes, yet they had a huge impact. At the time of this episode’s airing, the show received plenty of backlash. This was a risk Disney was willing to take, similar to other companies amidst this time of intolerance. 
“I do believe that it's important to represent a diverse range of humanity (race, gender, belief) in any creative endeavor,” said Mack Williams, an animation director, illustrator, and motions graphic artist who has worked for Archer and Comedy Central all while owning his own animation company, PigApple. “There are many segments of society that don't get exposed to the cultural rainbow I see every day in New York City,” Williams said. 
Williams believes representing a wide array of peoples and cultures in children’s shows is an important way to expose children to the diversity of the world. “Seeing these characters and the different kinds of viewpoints presented in shows like this may be the only exposure some children get,” he said. “If you grow up watching shows that only present one specific view of the world, you may think that's the only way the world is.”

Teenagers are generally more accepting than the preceding generation, yet they grew up in a time where TV programming such as Friends and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, did not represent the face of present-day America. How has the content changed since then?
Lynn Nguyen, a 17-year-old senior at John D. O’Bryant believes TV programming is starting to coincide with her beliefs. “I think that I have always been a more progressive thinker,” she said. “To see television broadcasting the same beliefs as mine is a relief, because it shows that I am not the only person who thinks this way.”
Teenagers are contributing to the ratings of shows like Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears, which features a Muslim character, and both Steven Universe and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, which both feature a gay kiss. It is evident the mindset of America has changed drastically in the the past three years with the opinions of teenagers having changed to be more accepting, but do their parent’s values reflect the same change?
“I definitely believe it is important to display a diverse array of cast members and content in shows,” says Ngoc Nguyen-Soares, a mother of two. “It implements this mindset into the younger ones to show it is okay to love who you want and be confident in your body type along with accepting the differences amongst people.”
As the generation of baby boomers hand over their responsibilities to the rising millennials, it is essential to play this new content to ensure the general mindset is in the right place. Disparities between people’s thoughts are not caused by biological factors, but rather environmental which only makes it more important to display progressive content in multimedia.
Read more…
Do you ever look at train tracks and see colorful words and pictures? An array of vibrant scribbles and lines? Names that you have no idea who they belong to? How about pictures of famous people, or illusions? That’s called graffiti. 
According to PBS NewsHour, graffiti started in the late 1960s when a high school student from Philadelphia, who went by the name of Cornbread, began tagging his name on the city walls to get a girl's attention. Tagging is a stylized signature that street artists use to broadcast themselves and their work.
The big question about graffiti is whether it is street art or vandalism. Graffiti should not be a crime. A lot of the time, graffiti artists create art that has a message and can be considered street art.
Street art and graffiti have their differences and similarities. Jason Talbot, a professional graffiti artist at Artists for Humanity, explained both can be done in public with spray bottles, but the difference is “street art is for sale and is mainly about the enjoyment of the person buying it. Meanwhile, graffiti is more about the artist.”
Street art can be done publicly, with permission of property owners, and is image-based, whereas graffiti can be created without permission, illegally, and is mostly word-based. If someone is caught doing graffiti on a public wall, they could face serious jail time. That’s why there are graffiti yards, like “Graffiti Alley” in Cambridge, where people can do their art and not be punished for it.
You can assume graffiti would be considered a crime because artists work on other people’s property without permission. But if it is not disturbing or inappropriate, then why is it a problem? 
Everyone has their own opinion. Graffiti artists should have the right to show off their talents wherever or whenever they want because it is their career. They do it for a living. You can’t take that away from them.
Some people question the reason for graffiti, but a lot of it has to do with respect. Talbot touches on how graffiti artists do graffiti and tag their name on walls because they want to elevate their voices and put themselves out there. They see big names like Amazon and want their names to be up there like them. 
Jaylah Gulley, a sophomore visual arts major at Boston Arts Academy, wants people to know “the effort and feelings she puts into her work” when she draws.   
Graffiti happens all over the world, especially in Great Britain, Australia and Colombia, and can be beneficial for cities. According to art and design website Co.Design, “A preliminary study for MIT’s Place Pulse suggests that street art may have a positive effect on how unique a city looks.” A lot of street art has a purpose. Artists try to relate their work to real world problems and contribute to their city’s economy and creativity. How is that a crime?
Would you prefer gang-affiliated graffiti plastered around your city, or graffiti with a positive meaning? When you criminalize graffiti on public walls, it can get out of hand and lead down to destroying the city rather than beautifying it. 

Read more…
Let’s admit it. Nearly everyone who plays violent video games knows that while it may be possible to do those things in the game, it won't end well in the real world when you get locked up in a jail cell. 
Nonviolent video games may seem boring, but surprisingly there are some good benefits from these types of games. One is that they can help suppress aggression, meaning that if you tend to be angry, you can release your anger toward a nonviolent video game to feel better. 
Strategy and adventure games that avoid violence offer some benefits to kids and teenagers. “Minecraft” is a lego-style adventure game. The creative and building concept of the game lets players build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D, procedurally-generated world. 
According to an article on MSN, “Minecraft” encourages and motivates learning for kids, boosts creativity, increases perception, is a healthier alternative and improves hand-eye coordination. 
Dionny Ortiz, senior at City on a Hill Circuit Street High School, agreed. “‘Minecraft’ is one of the many examples on how nonviolent video games can be beneficial,” he said. “People can learn how Redstone Circuits work, making really complex contraptions and machines.” 
Sports video games also provide a safe environment for adolescents to develop sports-related skills and knowledge. According to a study published on Researchgate, researchers found evidence to suggest that “sports video games may be an effective tool to promote self-esteem as well as participation in sports among adolescents.” 
Many teens really do become interested in playing a sport in the real world after starting with the video game. Isaac Amado, a senior at Saint Joseph Prep High School, stated, “I can’t tell you the number of people who play ‘2K’ and then the next day try to ball up in person at a court, it’s ridiculous but entertaining.” 
So go out there and try it for yourself. See how fun the sport is in real life and how active you can be while doing it. Who knows, maybe you can end up playing for the sports league and be on the face of the video game that started your whole career. 

Read more…
Video games have been phenomenal since the 1970s. Games such as “Ping Pong,” “Space Invaders,” “Asteroids,” “Atari Football,” and “Lunar Lancer” have been putting smiles on the faces of players for years.  
Recently, violent video games have taken over the gaming world. Games such as “Diablo 3,” “Mortal Kombat X,” “Fallout 4” and the “Call of Duty” franchise influence our everyday lives in a negative way. In “Grand Theft Auto V” (GTA), players are able to kill people, steal cars and rob banks. This sparked a huge controversy about whether these types of games are bad for kids. 
Despite the controversy, many teens play hours of video games a day. DJ Camera, 15, of Dorchester, said he loves video games and plays both E rated (for everyone) and M rated (for mature) games. He likes E rated games like “FIFA,” and M rated games like “GTA 5,” but leans more toward the M rated side. 
Erick Garcia, 16, of Dorchester, said he prefers M rated games because of all the violence.
How does participating in violence through video games affect its players? The fact that the military uses video games to help train soldiers might clue us in. It's a scary thought to think that teens have access to the same type of software as soldiers. According to the Atlantic, the military has used video games “at every organizational level for a broad array of purposes… to recruit soldiers, to train them, and, most recently, to treat their psychological disorders such as PTSD.” While the games used to train soldiers and those available in any gaming store may be different, simulating this type of violence can have an impact. 
The American Psychological Association (APA) lists violent video games as one risk factor among many for aggressive behavior. In a CBS report, Dr. Craig Anderson, Director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University, said, “Playing a violent video game isn't going to take a healthy kid who has few other risk factors and turn him into a school shooter, but it is a risk factor that does drive the odds for aggression up significantly.”

Read more…
Do you ever have those days in the beginning of the year where you don’t have that much homework and you have nothing else to do? I definitely have those days. Here I am going to suggest my favorite binge-worthy Netflix shows, from drama to comedy to classic high school flicks.

The Fosters 
The Fosters, set in San Diego, is about a lesbian couple named Stef and Lena, a police officer and a school vice-principal who are raising a multi-ethnic family. The family consists of one biological and four adopted children, Brandon, Mariana, Jesus, Jude and Callie. 
I recommend this show because it shows that you don’t need to be a blood family to be loved. Social issues are also underlined in every episode’s storyline. The show never pushes a topic on you, but it’s honest about how hard life can be. This series deals with issues such as gay rights, feminism, first loves, suicide, mental illness and the importance of following your dreams. You’ll just grow to care about these characters like they really are your own family. It has taught me personally that family has the unconditional love that is indescribable.  

Shameless is a TV show about the dysfunctional Gallagher family in Chicago’s South Side. The children have to learn how to care for themselves since their single father would rather spend his days drunk.
You can easily relate to at least one character in Shameless on a deep level. Frank Gallagher, the father who you think would have no real substance, actually has a lot of knowledge on real world issues. Frank is well known for his constant ranting sessions about life, and during these times he uses amazing vocabulary that demonstrates how educated he is. 
Even though they are a dysfunctional family, if any of the Gallaghers are in trouble, they will be there for each other always. This family resembles what some American families are like. No family is perfect and this show does a great job showing that the most dysfunctional families can have the most love for each other.

The Vampire Diaries
The Vampire Diaries is a supernatural/fantasy/horror/drama television series based on L. J. Smith’s book series of the same name. The series follows the life of 17-year-old Elena Gilbert who falls in love with both a vampire named Stefan Salvatore and his vampire brother Damon Salvatore. This draws Elena and her friends into the supernatural world of Mystic Falls, a world plagued by vampires, werewolves, witches, doppelgängers and original vampires. As a result, Elena and her friends make enemies, including the Originals and the Travelers.
I suggest The Vampire Diaries because stereotypes are nowhere to be found. Usually the blonde girl with blue eyes is the dumb one, but in this show she is smart, beautiful and passionate. The show also demonstrates how to balance the life of a normal teenager with being the girlfriend of a vampire or being a vampire yourself. Even though vampires aren’t a real life thing, you can still learn from the base issue of liking two brothers and the struggle of  picking one over the other.     
 On the 4th of July, the small town of Riverdale is outraged by the mysterious death of Jason Blossom, one of the most popular kids in the school and a part of the town’s most powerful family. Archie and a group of his friends try to solve the mystery of Jason’s death while dealing with small town issues such as major drug use and hookups. To figure out the mystery, the group of friends must go deeper than what lies on the surface. Little Riverdale may not be as innocent as what meets the eye. 
This show is a must watch! It tackles important issues such as slut shaming, sexual harassment and racism. The females in the show are also strong and confident, especially the mean girl, Polly. Polly’s iconic one line phrases such as "Check your sell-by date, ladies, faux lesbian kissing hasn't been taboo since 1994,” will make you feel that you are as tiny as a grain of salt. Even though Riverdale may come across as a gloomy, suspenseful murder mystery, they do a great job adding some humor into it. And who wouldn’t want to watch a show that has good looking male leads like Cole Sprouse?

Read more…