Audreyana Washington, 15, of the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says she spends about eight hours a day on her smartphone, checking social media websites and reading. “My phone is interesting and it keeps me connected to the world,” says Washington. In 2009, teens spent an average of two hours and 15 minutes on their cellphones, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. But some of today’s teens more than double that. It can depend on whether they have Internet, cable, or a smartphone. Fifteen-year-old Jasmine Cruz, from West Roxbury Academy, says she’s on her phone some 10 hours a day, browsing social networks and playing the game Candy Crush. “I use my phone a lot,” says Cruz, “because it’s easier and faster than the computer.” Nautica Mosby, from the Harbor School, says she uses her smartphone about four hours a day. Mosby, 16, says she does not have a television in her bedroom, nor the Internet at her house. She uses her phone to play games, watch videos, read, and go on Instagram. Mosby says she limits the time on her phone. “It’s boring and I get tired of it,” she says. She prefers, she says, to draw and write.
Read more…
On a field trip to Six Flags, Xena Joseph, 16, from Community Academy of Science and Health, sat at the back of the bus to play a game of “Truth or Dare.” Many teens have played them: “Truth or Dare,” “Would You Rather,” and “21 Questions.” These games were originally used by many as icebreakers to get to know others better. But now, there is an added twist -- teens use them to discover just how far they will push themselves, says 18-year-old Akeem Barrows, from CASH. Daniel Ortega, a sophomore from CASH, says he gets involved with these games a lot with friends. “I just play to pass the time,” he says. “But sometimes it can get out of hand.” Like the last time he played “Truth or Dare.” “I ended up eating ice cream mixed with hot sauce, chicken broth, mayonnaise, and tuna fish,” Ortega says. “Let’s just say it ended bad.”
Read more…
Edward Velazquez, 16, says he’s been judged for his beliefs. “People have told me: ‘I don’t know how you can pray and believe in an invisible God,’” says Velazquez, who attends Brighton High School. Often, people make decisions about others and create wrong opinions about teens without even knowing them. Teens say that just because some don’t like the way a person dresses or acts or what they believe in doesn’t mean they should be treated rudely. Seventeen-year-old Mu Xian Chen, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says she’s been called short and skinny. ‘‘You should think before you act,” she says. Amal Egal, 16, thinks that judging people without knowing them is unfair. “Everyone deserves a chance, because as cliché as it sounds, we are all the same,” says Egal, who attends the O’Bryant. “I don’t think we can stop society’s judgments. However, if everyone individually reflects on themselves, we might be able to change.”
Read more…
Miguel Martinez, 17, of Boston Arts Academy, says that if he were given the opportunity to do anything on his bucket list, he’d do it right away. “The thing I want to do the most on my bucket list is to swim with dolphins,” he says. Martinez believes that it would be a memorable experience. Teens want to live like there is no tomorrow, freely with no regrets or fears. Like others, they have a mental list of the most interesting things they want to do before they die, ranging from the simple to the more daring. “If I got to dunk over Michael Jordan -- that would be pretty amazing,” says Melvin Gonzalez, 17, of Lower Roxbury. Anjelique Casiano, 16, of Boston Green Academy, says she is determined to get everything on her list checked off. “I don’t really have anything extreme on my bucket list,” says Casiano. “I have many simple things, but I do want to go skinny dipping in a nice lake or go drag racing.”
Read more…
Lidzt Gaelle Lubin, 17, from Hyde Park, knows how her parents would react if she pursued her goal of becoming an actress. “They would be mad,” says Lubin, who may study medicine instead. Many parents have great expectations for their children’s futures. For Haitian parents, the hopes can be especially high for their kids to become successful professionals -- doctors, lawyers, or engineers — even if it is not the child’s choice. According to cultural specialists, Haitian parents want their children to help support the family financially in the US and not waste the educational opportunities they came here for. On a larger scale, such prestigious jobs are viewed as an important way for offspring to one day bring wealth and knowledge back to the Haitian homeland, and raise the country up. Now, many Haitian teens find themselves caught in the middle: between pleasing their parents and following their own dreams. Kimberly Cajuste, 15, from Urban Science Academy, says that if she tells her parents that she wants to be a dancer or a singer, they would have a simple question: “Why not a doctor?”
Read more…