Abby Davila, 17, says she got her belly button and tongue piercings at 16 by a close friend without the permission of her mother. She feels as though teens should be able to get piercings without parental OKs as a way of expressing themselves, and professionals are just too expensive. Davila did not think about the dangers that come along with unprofessional piercings and says she faced many complications. Her mother later found out about the piercings and had to bring her to the hospital due to an infection. “The piercings definitely weren’t worth getting sick or getting in trouble with my mother,” says Davila, from English High School. “If going back in time were possible, I would have my mother bring me to a professional.” Piercings are a trendy way to bedazzle the body. Whether you’re talking about nose rings or belly button and eyebrow piercings, they’re totally cute. But the question is: Are they safe? There are a lot of risks that come with having a piercing -- especially if not done by a professional or at a sanitary shop. According to kidshealth.org, these include abscesses, infections, uncontrolled bleeding, and even hepatitis. Keisha Fertil, 17, says she got her lip pierced by a professional with the permission of her mother and did not face any problems after taking great care of it. “My experience at a professional shop was amazing,” says Fertil, from Charlestown High School. “Everything was extremely clean, they told me about the risk of getting a piercing, and even gave me a free care kit to clean my piercings.” Nya Ross, 17, from New Mission High School, does not want any piercings at all because she thinks they’re overrated and risky -- regardless of where you get them done. “I don’t see why I need to spend over $50 on a piece of jewelry that won’t significant change anything about me and can potentially get me sick,” says Ross. “It’s not worth the stress.”
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Matthew Shako believes it is dangerous and might have negative health effects to sleep too much.

“It’s bad for you,” says Shako, 17, who goes to Boston Latin School. “It’s unhealthy for certain bodily functions to not be active for that long.” Although Shako sleeps 8 to 10 hours a night, he would slumber for four more hours if he could because he loves to doze. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need at least eight-and- a-half hours of sleep a night, but 15 percent don’t get that much on school nights – whether they’re up doing homework or getting lost on social media. Then there are those who get too much rest. Webmd.com says that super-sleeping can be a sign of anything from diabetes to depression. Seventeen-year-old Oscar Mercado says he sleeps 6 to 12 hours a night and would love more. He doesn’t believe that too much sleep is bad because it helps him relax and he feels more energetic and happy. “Sometimes your body or your mind is more tired than usual, so you need more sleep,” says Mercado, who goes to Excel High School. Nolan Jones, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, feels that resting regenerates the human body. He says he only sleeps for five hours a night due to insomnia and would like additional hours. But he also believes that going overboard can lead you nowhere. “If you get too much sleep,” says Jones, “you’re missing out on life, and life does not stop for you. It keeps going.”
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Dealing with a sibling who has disabilities isn’t always easy. Usually you have many people asking questions or staring. It’s frustrating at times but it’s also what makes your family different.

My younger brother was born de with deformed ears. People often look oddly at him and some kids have gone as far as asking what happened. But he’s comfortable with being deaf. I’ve learned a lot over the past eight years. There is so much technology and many accommodations for deaf people: flashing doorbells, sight-signal fire  alarms, and even implants that are programmed by computer to help him hear. My brother is teaching me how to sign. Seeing an eight-year-old communicate in Sign Language, English, and Spanish shows you just how smart people with disabilities can be.
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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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