Scrolling through the tumblr tag ‘pro- ana,’ pictures of shockingly thin-framed women are displayed.

Pro-ana, short for a pro-anorexia- nervosa lifestyle, refers to people who choose to imitate the eating disorder in which victims often starve themselves for extended periods of time. Patients with anorexia may view themselves with distorted body images. “It’s absolutely disgusting and disappointing,” says 15-year-old Nelly Matos, from Boston Latin Academy, who struggled for a time with weight perceptions. “Girls who are pro-ana are imitating an often fatal disease and it is not okay.” Almost 24 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, according to kidshealth.org, and 95 percent of those are between the ages of 12 and 25. Annabella Bautista, 15, from BLA, has also dealt with body stigmas and faults the current fad for the recent prevalence of eating disorders. “I totally blame the obsession for having bikini bridges, thigh gaps, and protruding collar bones,” says Bautista.
“It is not -- and will never be -- okay to condition young girls with such fragile self-esteems that you need these things to be beautiful. You don’t.” Still, there are hundreds of young women -- both on and off the pro- ana online forums -- who don’t think simulation of the illness will lead to anything but a normal loss of weight. “Well, I do not support the pro-ana movement, but if these girls don’t really have the disease and are just imitating it, they can stop any time,” says Annie Jones, 16, from Excel High School, “and hopefully that time will be soon -- once they come to their senses. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
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Arvonne Patterson, a 17-year-old from Madison Park High School, says her parents don’t have specific  rules but she’s asked to follow whatever they tell her to do.

“Sometimes it bothers me because if I don’t do something little, my parents won’t let me do anything at all,” Patterson says. “For example, if I don’t clean the kitchen, they won’t even let me walk down the street.” The way many teens tell it, all parents have strict households -- yet some actually don’t. Andrea Victorian, 18, from Fenway High School, says there are barely any guidelines for her. “The only ones are keep your room clean, be respectful, and be clean after yourself,” she says. “I like these rules because they’re not hard to do. If I want to go out, all I have to do is ask my mom and she’ll let me go because I do what I am told and she trusts me. Nathan Gonzalez, 17, from Boston Arts Academy, only has a few simple instructions to follow. “The basic common rule is respect the house you’re living in because other people are living in there with you,” Gonzalez says. “If I don’t follow the rules, then they put me on punishment. If I want to go out, all I have to do is tell them where, with who, and what time I’m coming back.”
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Teens just wants to be accepted by their friends -- but more so by their families. Teenagers have an interest in piercings, tattoos, or a specific way of dressing -- but parents don’t always agree and may think less of their own children.

David Fortunato, 19, from Madison Park High School, says his mother is always judging him based on the people that he hangs out with. “It makes me feel rebellious because I’m her son and to know she doesn’t see me as my own person is one of the most disappointing things ever,” he says. Karina Cruz, 16, from Dorchester, says her piercings cause family tensions. She says that she always tells her mom that people are the way they are for a reason. “Honestly, nobody’s judgment will change me,” she says. “The way I was born and raised is the way I will remain.” Kordell Hollis, 18, who goes to school in Roxbury, says his parents always tell him that his baggy jeans and long shirts aren’t as attractive as he thinks they are. Hollis says that although they are his parents, he doesn’t let their words affect him in any way. “I stick to myself at all times,” he says, “but it would be nice to have them accept me the way that I am.”
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When a kid does wrong, it’s easy for him to blame his parents or society – anyone but himself.

But teens say the culprits often should be pointing fingers at themselves. “Parents teach their kids to make good choices,” says Ronnie Brown, 16, from Excel High School. Often, perpetrators like to play dumb, laying fault on violent video games, TV shows, or their parents for being too lax. But those excuses don’t fly with many teens. “The kid knows right from wrong and if they do wrong it’s on them,” says Landon Fitzpatrick, a freshman at the Henderson School. For sure, parents have influence over their child’s actions. Teens say parents need to set clear boundaries of behavior, maintain a strong presence in their kids’ lives, and regularly sit down and talk with them about what they’re up to. However, at the end of the day, the kid is still responsible for his own activities. “It was the child’s choice to break the law,” says 14-year-old Tyler Andrade, from Dorchester.
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Eighteen-year-old Angelica Ortiz laments the lack of consistent outward love at home.

“My parents now show affection only when something good or bad happens,” says Ortiz, who goes to Boston Community Leadership Academy. As teens get older, they start to realize the importance of affection. At the same time, some parents are pulling back on showing that emotion. “Affection is needed because it’s part of communication,” says Rodell Pires, a senior at BCLA. Teens say that they feel closer to their parents when they feel that warmth. “Parent affection,” says Ronnie Brown, 16, from Excel High School, “makes the relationship stronger.”
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