AFH Photo // Abraham Rosa
Walk into a room of teenagers. What’s the first thing you notice? You are most likely to see that all of them are either using a smartphone or have one in their pocket. Many adults and members of the older generations are quick to criticize, deeming smartphones distracting and bad for adolescents. While some aspects of today’s technology can be overwhelming, this constant disapproval is uncalled for: the thin powerhouses have many practical uses that are changing the world for the better.
A Pew Research Center study reveals that by the end of 2015, almost 75 percent of American teens had access to a smartphone. 17-year-old Lauren Cloherty, a senior at Boston Latin School, uses her iPhone daily and agrees that it assists her in very practical ways.
“I use it to look things up and inform me about topics I am interested in,” Cloherty said. I also get notifications for breaking news and I like that. When I’m driving, I use maps to help me get places. I even have a AAA app, which would help me if I was ever stuck in the middle of nowhere and needed assistance.”
Justin Fyles, product strategist at the mobile design firm Intrepid, works to create applications for companies that are useful to all consumers. He believes in building things that are necessary for people and impactful in their lives.
On smartphones and modern technology, Fyles said, “It’s really the intersection of people and the world around them. The goal of smartphones isn’t to remove you from the world; it’s to enhance the world that you’re experiencing.
Smartphones help people capture moments, learn things, travel, communicate and connect with others. They bring information right to our fingertips and allow us to read the news in real time. They give us tools and opportunities to change our daily lives for the better, and we should be eager to appreciate these.
“Yes, we are using more and more technology,” Fyles said, “but technology is permeating itself into more aspects of our lives and benefiting us. As a society, we’ll increasingly spend time on smartphones as they advance. It’s up to us whether we want to spend that time for a burst of entertainment or if we want to learn Mandarin. Or learn Spanish. Or video chat with someone in Iran and connect around the world. 
As a teenager in today’s ever-changing technological world, Lauren finds her phone very helpful in her academic life. She even has a whole folder on her iPhone with apps for school.
“Some apps I use include Google Drive, Quizlet, to help me study, and WordReference, which is basically a dictionary,” Cloherty said. “I use these for school all the time.”
It’s no secret that technology is infused with today’s world and smartphones are going to continue evolving. Only one question remains: will you evolve with them?
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AFH Photo // Maya Chin
As this school year begins, students should consume the right foods in order to stay on track and boost mental stamina. I spoke with Hanna Kelly, a registered dietitian at Brookside Community Health Center, to see how foods affect the body. 
1.      What would you suggest an upcoming student to eat?
To maintain good health, every meal should be about half fruits and vegetables, about a quarter starchy foods (potatoes, rice, bread, etc.), and about a quarter proteins (meat, eggs, fish, chicken, beans, etc.). 
2.      What is your favorite food?
I try to get my patients to eat more vegetarian proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu. These foods have many of the same things as meats but are much healthier alternatives.
3.      What foods do you think teenagers should avoid?
Sugary drinks, like soda, juice, and Red Bull! These do almost nothing for the body, but add extra calories (the things that make you gain weight) and sugar (bad for almost every organ in your body).
4.      What is the best diet for someone wishing to maintain focus?
A diet lower in sugar and caffeine, both of which can temporarily provide a lot of energy but are very quickly used up, leaving a person with less energy and a lower attention span than when they started. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal), and proteins works best to keep up energy levels.
 5.      How much of an effect do you think food has on our bodies?
Food affects everything in the body! Every single thing the body is able to do is because of energy, vitamins, proteins, etc. obtained through food. The entire structure of your body is made up of very small pieces of protein, which you get from eating protein. Without food, a person literally cannot live or exist in the first place. Additionally, most of the common American health issues (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more) can usually be prevented by eating a balanced diet. It’s much easier to prevent these than to try to fix them later in life.
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AFH Photo // Vanessa Vo
Raiden Wallace, 16, from Edward M. Kennedy High School, always felt like his body “just doesn’t feel right.” When he hit puberty, he realized that “this isn’t the body I want.” So he embarked on a journey to find his true identity—inside and out. 
It was a struggle for Wallace to embrace his true self. He didn’t know how people would react. As he got older, he stopped caring about what people had to say. “I love myself,” Wallace says proudly as a thriving, beautiful, transgender male. 
There are millions of people who are part of the LGBTQ community worldwide. People who are not part of this community may be confused about the difference between gender and sexual orientation. Sexuality and gender are both important when it comes to who you are and how you live. Equally important is understanding the differences. 
Gender Identity
Being transgender is about gender identity. According to the American Psychological Association, the term “transgender” is used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the sex they were given at birth.
A transgender male or female can express their gender by changing the way they dress and changing their behaviors to match their identified gender. Hormones and surgery can be an important part of the transgender journey towards self discovery. “I believe identity is a journey,” said Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist, speaker, and writer. She believes that identity is powerful and meaningful. 
Sexual Orientation
According to the American Psychological Association, there are three classified sexual orientations: heterosexual (attraction to the opposite sex), gay (attraction to the same sex), and bisexual (attraction towards both sexes). This includes emotional, romantic and sexual attraction.
Difference Between The Two
People often confuse gender and sexuality. Others think they’re both the same thing, but they’re not. Sexuality is whom you’re attracted to, and gender identity is who you are. It’s better to ask and question than to assume. 
We need to realize that people who belong to the LGBTQ community are just like everyone else. The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to young people within the LGBT community. Their studies show that the suicide attempt rate is about four times greater for LGBT and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth.
“There’s too much shame in the world,” Ochs said. “There’s too much invalidation of our experiences.”
Many students experience depression because of unacceptance. When they have no one to go to, some feel hopeless and turn to self-harm or suicide. We need to do more to support each other regardless of our differences. We’re all human, right? Let’s all treat each other that way.
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AFH Photo // Jhonn Polanco
Before I even walked into McDonalds, I saw a herd of people ordering food. The mouthwatering smell of burgers and fries greeted me with a punch to the nose. I really wanted to eat healthy, so I ordered a Caesar salad. Little did I know that the McDonald's Caesar salad has more calories than their hamburgers. 
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 1 in 5 children aged 6 to 19 are obese.  More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese. About 8 percent of women are considered to have extreme obesity. 
Kids these days are spending more time inside watching TV than going outside and playing at the park. Spending less time outside and more time indoors will increase the incidence  of obesity. Excess pounds do more than increase your weight. They also increase the risk of major health problems such as strokes, diabetes, cancer, and depression. You have to exercise or you have a higher chance of becoming obese.  
Lenward Gatison, health teacher from Codman Academy, said that obesity occurs when extra calories accumulate in the body, and that teens are more at-risk for obesity than ever. “Teens have junk food easily accessible to them and the culture of teens is getting more and more sedentary,” said Gatison. “Junk food, fast food, TV streaming services, video games are some major contributors to teen obesity. Until teens are living more active lifestyles, teen obesity will continue to be an issue.”
Elliott Garcia, 16, from Dorchester, said that obesity can affect local teens’ abilities to make friends and fit in. “For example, if you are an average teen, you would choose the group that is fit and that has a good life over the obese group that has a bad life,” he said.
For teens, obesity isn’t just a health problem; it’s also a social one. We should more active lifestyles and better access to healthy food. We can’t live off of McDonald's alone. 
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AFH Photo // Christiana Black
As I get home from school, I heave my heavy body onto the couch. I look up and ask my artificial intelligence (AI) companion to help me review for a test I have coming up. The slightly digitized voice responds, “Of course.” 
The future is something that people always seem to have on their minds, as seen in the excessive amount of time travel movies. Some say AI, or the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, is a dream of the future—but in fact, AI is already here, ready to make your life easier. 
Gene Swank is cofounder and chief operating officer of educational technology company Screen Time Solutions. ScreenTime Learning is a way to help parents help their children study math by earning time on their mobile device, tablet, or phone. The screen is locked on a quiz that a child must pass in order to gain 30 minutes to an hour of full access on their device. After that time ends, the timer kicks off and the device locks back up.  The child then has to answer more questions. 
“The AI is actually in the back end, in the cloud,” Swank explained. “We have an acronym for it, CLAIR: cloud learning artificial intelligent resource.”
CLAIR uses the information it gathers from students to create a probability chart of grade level and questions adapted to fit the child. “We analyze everything, from how long it takes the child to answer the question to the incorrect answers they choose,” Swank said. “Believe it or not, the incorrect answers are even more important than the ones they got correct.”
“AI is making computers essentially think in the way that humans do,” Swank said. “So there are a lot of takes, a lot of algorithms and things like that we use that require the understanding of some big data. That big data is almost too much information for a human to process—that’s why we use AI."
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