Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 | 2 a.m.
About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 57th annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 13. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. Conner Thornton of Foothill High School writes about issues covered by his group, Teen Topics.
Students from Clark County came to the Sun Youth Forum to voice their opinions on problems faced by their generation in the United States. My group covered Teen Topics, and we talked about technology, the military, profiling of teens, abortion, teen pregnancy, and entertainment options for young adults in Clark County.
Our main focus of discussion was the effect of technology. Cyberbullying is problematic and is rampant, we believe, because the bullies can put a space between themselves and their victims. Bullies have no problems with insulting others as long as they are not saying it to their face. Many in our group confessed to being victims of cyberbullying or knew someone who had been. Kids, as a group, need to confront bullies: The group can make a difference. Some students said reporting the bullying to the administration worked but, surprisingly, many believed that telling the school administration doesn’t help at all. Administrations take reports of bullying but seemingly never address the problem.
Many people are concerned that the youth of today are becoming less social. Our group decided that, after considering the issues, this statement likely proves true. A couple years ago, all teens had to worry about was Facebook, but now there is also Vine, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. These are all hindering the social skills that are needed when students move on to college or start getting jobs. You rarely see youth doing outdoor activities anymore and most teens, when deprived of their phones and social media, can actually get anxious from the absence of these things.
There are examples of the good effects of technology in a school setting, such as some of the tools our teachers have, but it stops there. It was agreed that phones should not be allowed in school classrooms.
Students also were worried about the profiling that teens receive when applying for jobs or when they are pulled over by cops. All in the group agreed that most profiling was based on how the teen looked or dressed. This is understandable, but job interviewers and police officers shouldn’t judge a person based on how he or she looks. Many in our group were victims of this profiling and were extremely offended.
Our final topic was that of entertainment options presented to the youth of Henderson, Las Vegas and Boulder City. The consensus was that most students have enough things to do, but there are some problem areas like Boulder City and Mojave High School.
At the end of the forum, our moderator asked if we believed what we had done that day would make a difference. All of us said that we believed it would. We had expressed our full opinions and beliefs. The Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum was definitely an important event for us because it let us raise our voices to be heard and focus on problems that we will hopefully fix in the future.