Why I’m glad I never had a teen romance

Ahh young love, puppy love, it’s so cute! Isn’t it? Well no actually, it’s not. You can call me a cynic or heart-less or whatever but in fact I’m neither of those things. I’m a realist. Let’s look at today’s society: teenage pregnancy is only going up, children are giving birth. Now that is wrong. There seems to be no such thing as a childhood any more, everyone is desperate to grow up.

That’s pretty normal, wanting to grow up I mean. You think things will be easy, you’ll have more freedom, etc. As we now know as adults, that’s not true. Being an adult is just as hard, if not harder, than being a kid. But when you are young, there’s pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend and there’s often pressure not to be a virgin. Now, when I was in school I did have a boyfriend for about a month but now I wouldn’t call him a boyfriend, we were just friends that awkwardly hung out. The only reason he came round to see me was probably the social pressure of having a girlfriend. He always brought a friend with him when we went out, and we only went out twice and that was simply just going for a walk. We never held hands, kissed or anything like that. So we were never really in a relationship. But what do you expect? I was only about fourteen or so at the time. At around the same time, one of my friends started going out with a boy in the year above her. Of course she thought they loved each other and all that stuff so she lost her virginity to him, soon after he broke up with her. I always knew she was being stupid but my friends argued, “Oh she’s more mature, she knows what she’s doing”. No, she doesn’t. Every kid thinks they’re mature at that age, it’s a natural cockiness that comes with being young.

So in fact, I never had a proper boyfriend until a lot later in my life. I waited until I definitely knew I was in love (and not the fake kind of love I felt before). That may sound corny and old-fashioned but what’s the advantages of having a teen romance?

Let’s see: Possible pregnancy, pressure to lose your virginity, embarrassment, depression…have I missed anything? You don’t have a proper relationship at that age, really.

Aww so cute...*pukes*

Although, there is a counter argument for that. I know people who have had successful, adult relationships which started when they were around fifteen years old. It may not start off mature, but it doesn’t mean it can’t bloom into a more adult relationship. There are downsides to this too though, people change. That’s a fact of life but you’re most likely to change during your teenage years. You may love to be a goth at sixteen but by the time you’re twenty you might be a hipster. You tell kids that and they go “oh no I’m going to like x thing forever”. There’s a large possibility you won’t. It’s part of growing up and people can change dramatically. You can go from the shyest guy in the school to a famous actor, it happens! The majority of relationships starting from this age will not continue in adult life. I don’t think that should necessarily put you off relationships until a certain age but personally I’m glad I never had to go through that.

I remember feeling desperately sad I wasn’t in a relationship during both my school years and college. Why did I want one so bad? Was it the social pressure (one of the many reasons I dislike Valentines)? Did I feel insecure and lonely? Maybe. The main reason, I believe, was that I wanted to feel normal. Even when I was in a sort-of-relationship with someone later on, I still didn’t feel normal. I wanted to be able to do that simplest thing that, at that time, wasn’t possible for complicated reasons I won’t go into. I just wanted to hold his hand while I walked down the street with him. It’s those sorts of feelings which depress teenagers and pressure them. Everyone at that age just wants to be seen as normal, even if they’re trying their hardest not to be normal, everyone just wants to be accepted.

Maybe love is glamorised too much in film, TV, etc. But the problem is it needs to be glamorised, we don’t exactly want to say “yay! One night stands!” All I hope is that teens can realise that just because they don’t have a boyfriend doesn’t mean it’s not the end of the world. It is hard when you’re young, you feel ugly, you’re bullied, people tell you on a daily basis how unattractive you are. People want reassurance that that’s not true so they think having a partner will help. It doesn’t, you need to be comfortable with yourself first, don’t listen to what other people say, you don’t need people showering you with compliments every which way to be considered attractive. It sounds cheesy but whoever you are, whatever you look like there will be someone out there who’s attracted to you. You just have to wait patiently and find them first.


Why are young people so angry?

There’s no way anyone can ignore the terrible things currently happening with youth culture today. Well, okay, maybe if you’re rich and don’t have to live around such people. I am 21 myself so I hate to use phrases such as “the youth of today”, it just makes you sound old and ignorant so I will try not to use such terms.

My home town is Portsmouth, although I live in a nice area of it, Portsmouth is known for its chav population and horrible council estates. It’s a poor city and over-crowded so it’s to be expected. When I was younger I didn’t want to walk through a park if there was a group of suspect looking teenagers in there, even if I was older than them. How did such young children get so scary? Even middle aged men wouldn’t attack a group of kids hitting another kid if they were wary about their own life. Kids carry knives now, sometimes guns. Their either drunk or drugged up. Many say “it didn’t use to be this way” so what’s changed?

Young people have always been violent. Unfortunately it’s part of growing up, puberty. When we get out of our teenage years we forget what it was like, what we were like but at some point in time we’re explosive. We swear at our parents, slam the door and go get drunk with our mates. It’s almost always been that way because it’s natural to want to rebel, if only just a little bit. Smart parents will give their children controlled freedom so that their kids don’t want to go overboard with the rebelling. Alas, this is not true of every child. Some are more angry than others, more violent and there’s a good reason for it.

Well, there are many reasons. The obvious ones are: abuse, they’re being bullied themselves, they’re brought up in an aggressive environment, they’re copying their parents. We all know these things can cause someone to go off the rails. However, I think there’s a bigger problem afoot. The media.

How young people should look like. Right...?

Remember when the media created these people called “hoodies”? Yeah, me too. Hoodies are an item of clothing that people of all ages wear but to the media, they’re violent young people who like to do nothing more than rob the local shop or set a flat on fire. The media started to segregate young people from the rest of society. I was a teenager at the time and I felt angry. Not all of us are bad, I thought. They were pushing us all into one group because they’re too old to remember what being a teenager is like. Young people aren’t a separate species. You were a bastard once too. This was the start of the fire. Now all we ever hear in the media is there’s no jobs, other people are taking our jobs and there’s no point in going to university any more. Young people are being taught to give up before their lives have begun. I attend university and even THERE it’s drummed into you how the job market is hard, it will take a long time to find a job, your degree isn’t going to get you a job any more. It may be realistic but it’s depressing. It makes me angry because I think, am I wasting my time and getting myself into debt for nothing? And I am a rational-thinking person who comes from a good background. I have it pretty damn good. Think about how those young people living on council estates with little opportunities feel. They are SO angry.

Now I’m not saying it’s an excuse, it’s not. It doesn’t mean your life should turn to crime or stabbing people for the fun of it. But I believe the media is not helping. They may not have caused the problem but they’re not helping. All we hear is negative news day in day out. Do you want your children to grow up thinking “what’s the point?” Sadly the media will always report bad news and I don’t see things changing but my theory could help people understand what’s it’s like to be young again. When I was going through tough times my dad just said “what do YOU have to be stressed about?” He too has forgotten how hard life can be, even if you don’t have a job, kids and a house yet. Times can be just as tough emotionally and we must never, ever undermine how someone feels emotionally. It’s the most powerful thing we have and it’s why we are the way we are.

Children playing violent video games: a sign of neglect?

After reading a great article on 9 year olds who like to play COD, it’s highlighted a possibly very important connection between children and video games.

Now, I’m sure all us gamers have played video games rated way above what we should have been playing. For example, when I was around fifteen, I was allowed to play Grand Theft Auto. My favourite thing to do was to drive around in cars and smash them up so bad they blew up. Unsure why. Anyway, my parents have allowed me to play such games because I’ve always been seen as fairly mature for my age and my dad had an interest in video games. After all, GTA was his game. He knew what it was like but he also knew what I was like. I was never a problem child, I had an attitude problem when I hit a certain age but what teen doesn’t? In any case, there would be no way I would disrespect my parents. I’d be in big trouble.

The problem I’ve noticed with most under-age kids playing fifteen or eighteen rated games is that their parents don’t know or care what’s involved. Like the above article says, most of these kids are lonely, video games are their only outlet because their parents are too busy to bring them up or bond with them properly. I too have found this whilst working at GAME over Christmas. You’d see young children coming to the counter with their parents. They hand over a game. It’s a game they shouldn’t be playing. You’d warn the parent about the content of the game but they’re on the phone. They’re talking business. Money. So with a sad sigh to yourself, you just find the game and hand it over to them. It’s passed to their child, naturally. They’re still on the phone. They haven’t said a word to me or the child. I’d seen the child earlier on, they had to go get their parent just so they could buy the game. The parent is disinterested, at least it shuts their kid up right? I’d feel genuinely sorry for the child that walked off.

In Kingston, where I currently reside, that’s the kind of parents you see all the time. There’s a lot of rich families in Kingston so they buy their kids whatever they want, ignoring the big 18 in the corner of the box simply because it will keep their child out of their hair. Now I may be being judgemental here, but I worry this trend is true. If you’re at an extreme end of the scale, either poor or rich, you’re parents are more likely to neglect you, and as a result, video games are your only comfort. Twenty years ago, this comfort may have been something else. Video games aren’t to blame, they’re just a part of today’s culture. I understand how hard it is when your child is begging for a game because “all their friends are playing it”. Just the other day, a kid wanted Battlefield 3 so bad but his mum didn’t like him playing game where he was just killing people, which was understandable, he wasn’t even a teenager yet. I heard her concerns and let her know not only is it violent, but there’s a lot of bad language in there. She smiled and appreciated she was getting this information. If only more parents knew if you turned over any video game box, it tells you why it’s been giving that rating.

The point that article about the 9 year olds makes is that the kids who enjoy COD as their favourite game tended to be the “problem children”. Is that a link to the video game itself? Or does that show what sort of an environment they come from? It’s possibly a bit of both. No matter which way you look at it, a child of 9 should not be playing an 18 rated game but it’s perhaps time that people stopped jumping to conclusion that “it’s the games fault”. Instead they need to look at children and their backgrounds. I bet their family life isn’t quite right. Children who become bullies are often bullied by their parents. This issue could just be another example of that.