I try desperately not to get my news from your typical local TV station. I read most of my news on the interwebs, and while EVERYTHING you read or hear today has an opinion spun into it, somehow reading it myself makes it easier to separate the news from the spin. (At least I tell myself this!)
Occasionally I catch the news during my lunch, or on my morning drive at ‘the top and bottom of the hour.’ And I have noticed a disturbing and growing trend when it comes to crime reporting or any news story for that matter. They always seem to tease about a TEEN who did something violent, or stupid. Now I hear this and I am reeled in. I have a teenage daughter, and I find it interesting to see what other TEENS do to get in trouble. Maybe it helps put my own kids in perspective. I am not sure, but it is obvious that the news media knows that the word TEEN is a grabber. The use it all the time.
However, 9 out of 10 times the TEEN they are referring to is 18, or 19. People THESE ARE NOT TEENS, they are ADULTS! Yes I understand that technically ‘teen’ does appear in the number, but our legal system has determined them to be adults. They can vote (God help us!), they can join the Army (Not likely!), and they have been paying full price at Golden Coral since they were 12!
Can we all agree to reserve the TEEN identity to those 13-17, to a time when they appear more innocent? Kids do dumb things. Teens, sometimes, do dumber things. We recognize this in our legal system. If they commit a crime at 17, there is question if you try them as an adult, at 18 - no questions asked!
Maybe we need a new term for these 18 and 19 year old newsmakers. We invented the word ‘tween’ to describe those in between childhood and teenage years. Lets come up with a word for those technically still in their teens but are already adults. Whatever that is..let’s stop calling them teens!