taking teenagers seriously

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Toeofdoom » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:27 pm UTC

zenten wrote:"kind of nuts"


Am I on this list? I think I'm on this list...

I do find that debating something with a teenager is often futile, and I think when other people try to debate something with me they find it even more so, not knowing that I probably changed my mind but just wouldn't admit it >.>
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:40 pm UTC

In my opinion, the start of a teenagers sulkiness begins with adults. I've known teenagers who were open and actually found arguements based in fact before a post-teen just casually dismisses their arguement based solely based on age. That probably rankles a bit, so I am not surprised that a lot of teenage debate boils down to 'I'm right because I am.'
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby tiny » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:25 pm UTC

zenten wrote:And by the way, saying "stupid" or "retarded" (yes, I was guilty of that in another thread a few months ago) is neither productive, nor accurate.

I know. But I don't like teenagery teenagers. Meaning those annoying typical teenagers. The young people who spoke up in this thread are ok. Calm and articulate.

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tiny wrote:It sounds funny, but teenagers aren't able to identify fear on the faces of adults. Kids can do it, adults can do it, but teenagers simply can't.

If you happen to have a citation demonstrating these, I'd love to read it.

I called my mom and she told me: The book she used most is 'Grenzerfahrung Pubertät' by Peer Wüschner; it doesn't exist in English, but Wüschner cites some English sources and 'Inside the Teenage Brain' by Nelson is most likely to include the info you want.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Razzle Storm » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:43 pm UTC

malarkie wrote:In my opinion, the start of a teenagers sulkiness begins with adults. I've known teenagers who were open and actually found arguements based in fact before a post-teen just casually dismisses their arguement based solely based on age. That probably rankles a bit, so I am not surprised that a lot of teenage debate boils down to 'I'm right because I am.'


When I was going through the self-discovery years, it was exactly like what you say. All I wanted was to have my ideas and words at least be considered before they were dismissed, which wasn't what was happening with any of the adults I could find (except one teacher). Like you say, it rankles. I ended up having to have a talk with my mother about it, where I sat her down and said, "Look, I know you want me to respect you, and I do, but you need to understand that I am my own person, with thoughts that make sense, and I would love it if you got rid of this bias you have that I am always going to be wrong."

After that, everything was surprisingly peachy, and I'm very happy with how that conversation went, because we talked a lot about what it's like to be a parent, and how when parents realize their kids are starting to grow away from them, they want to cling to them more.

Although, I was kind of a mature teenager. I often hear about teens getting in shouting matches with their parents, which is weird, because everyone knows you can't think or accept things when you're angry.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:46 pm UTC

Dan Frank wrote:
theonemephisto wrote:... Of course, in the last year or so, I've grown a lot. An interesting thing that I've noticed, especially when I occasionally go back to look at some old threads and posts I may have made in them, is that I really was pretty crude, not necessarily immature but it's quite easy to tell that I would easily begin to ramble, saying the same thing over and over again, and that I didn't present arguments well. Now, I believe that I'm a much better debater and that I'm much more coherent in general, but looking back on that time makes me realize that my perspective on myself is very different than what it might really be.


Do you honestly believe that it's only teenagers that do this? I haven't been a teen for quite a while, but I still do this. The only people who don't do this are people who aren't improving. And since nobody's perfect (or even close to it), there's no excuse for not improving. There are lots of nice examples of this, too... for instance, most authors hate reading their earlier work, because of how much they've improved since writing it.


He probably would have said that if he believed it? He was using an anecdote, not statistics, and therefore was not claiming a trend.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby eternauta3k » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:57 pm UTC

janusx wrote:My biggest problem with many teenagers, and in fact a huge number of people of all ages is that they never take the time to think about anything.

That's why I can't listen to music on the bus or while walking home... I use that time to think. My friends just put on their headphones and go on standby
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:59 pm UTC

Razzle Storm wrote: Although, I was kind of a mature teenager. I often hear about teens getting in shouting matches with their parents, which is weird, because everyone knows you can't think or accept things when you're angry.


Funny. I just figured that out this year

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:27 pm UTC

Razzle Storm wrote:I often hear about teens getting in shouting matches with their parents, which is weird, because everyone knows you can't think or accept things when you're angry.
The thing about being angry is that things that "everyone knows" don't have any relevance to how you feel, and hence don't affect how you act.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:01 pm UTC

[quote="Robin S]The thing about being angry is that things that "everyone knows" don't have any relevance to how you feel, and hence don't affect how you act.[/quote]
This is true. However, I have noticed that teenagers find it more difficult to control or restrain themselves when angry.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

Of course, that is quite a general statement. I know plenty of teenagers who are far calmer than many adults I know.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:21 pm UTC

It may just be my friendset, but in my experience teenagers are more prone to frustration and anger.
but you are right, sorry 'bout the generalization.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:50 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
theonemephisto wrote:... Of course, in the last year or so, I've grown a lot. An interesting thing that I've noticed, especially when I occasionally go back to look at some old threads and posts I may have made in them, is that I really was pretty crude, not necessarily immature but it's quite easy to tell that I would easily begin to ramble, saying the same thing over and over again, and that I didn't present arguments well. Now, I believe that I'm a much better debater and that I'm much more coherent in general, but looking back on that time makes me realize that my perspective on myself is very different than what it might really be.


Do you honestly believe that it's only teenagers that do this? I haven't been a teen for quite a while, but I still do this. The only people who don't do this are people who aren't improving. And since nobody's perfect (or even close to it), there's no excuse for not improving. There are lots of nice examples of this, too... for instance, most authors hate reading their earlier work, because of how much they've improved since writing it.


He probably would have said that if he believed it? He was using an anecdote, not statistics, and therefore was not claiming a trend.


Well, maybe I should have included his following paragraph too... I just didn't want the quote box to get overwhelmingly big.

theonemephisto wrote:So basically, yes, often times teenagers will have less coherent and supported arguments. This may not be for all of them, but chances are that they (we?) haven't matured long enough to really begin to understand things and to have an open mind, though it is continuing to grow (hopefully). I certainly know that I've been maturing and developing a different mind as my experience grows, and I doubt that most teenagers are more developed than me. There's simply an age that people start to get it, and if you're trying to have a discussion with them before that then things can be difficult. However, there are such things as mature, complex teenagers who really know what they're talking about, so judging by age still shouldn't be the norm. The best way to judge people on the internet is to judge their words.
.


It seems to me he is extrapolating that it's mostly teenagers that do what he described before. Maybe I just infered too much, though. Wouldn't be the first time.


Solt wrote:The real question is, why the hell do we spend countless hours on the internet debating things with total strangers?


Because exposing our theories and beliefs to criticism is the best way to improve them. And doing so through the internet provides some valuable things that are a lot harder to get in person: You can discuss things with vastly more people than would otherwise be practical, and it's much easier to stay calm and rational, and you have more time to compose your thoughts before saying your piece.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:51 pm UTC

Of course, YouTube debates (and similar phenomena on forums) ignore that completely.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:59 pm UTC

Robin S wrote:Of course, YouTube debates (and similar phenomena on forums) ignore that completely.


Heh, you got me. But the sort of deates you're like to find in, for instance, the XKCD "Serious Business" forum would fit into what I was talking about. And since I've never really gotten into a Youtube comment-war, I really don't have the slightest idea what motivates those, er, people.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Girl™ » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:00 pm UTC

I read a very interesting article awhile back about the fallacy of using brain scans to make judgements about the "nature of the teenage brain." Basically, a brain scan can show you what a person's brain is doing right now, but cannot tell you why. For a really basic example, say you do a brain scan on a normal but illiterate person, while showing him a sentence on a screen. His scan will show very different results from someone in the same situation who is literate. Would you think the correct interpretation of this scan is that parts of this person's brain never developed properly, which prevented him from learning how to read? Hopefully not.

So, there are these brain scan studies that show that teens' brains perform differently from adults'. You also have quite a few behavioral studies showing that teens perform tasks involving areas that are considered "adolescent gaps" as well as adults, as long as the expectations set forth are identical to those set forth for older subjects. Take into account that up until the 30s or so, teenagers were considered full adults and expected to act accordingly, and you can reasonably hypothosize that some of the conclusions drawn from these brain scan studies may be flawed. What is shown may not be a "developing adolescent brain," but the mental turmoil that results when a person with more or less fully adult reasoning capacity is consistently expected to perform like a child.

tl;dr: Treat teens like adults, and they might surprise you.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:14 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:I read a very interesting article awhile back about the fallacy of using brain scans to make judgements about the "nature of the teenage brain." Basically, a brain scan can show you what a person's brain is doing right now, but cannot tell you why. For a really basic example, say you do a brain scan on a normal but illiterate person, while showing him a sentence on a screen. His scan will show very different results from someone in the same situation who is literate. Would you think the correct interpretation of this scan is that parts of this person's brain never developed properly, which prevented him from learning how to read? Hopefully not.

So, there are these brain scan studies that show that teens' brains perform differently from adults'. You also have quite a few behavioral studies showing that teens perform tasks involving areas that are considered "adolescent gaps" as well as adults, as long as the expectations set forth are identical to those set forth for older subjects. Take into account that up until the 30s or so, teenagers were considered full adults and expected to act accordingly, and you can reasonably hypothosize that some of the conclusions drawn from these brain scan studies may be flawed. What is shown may not be a "developing adolescent brain," but the mental turmoil that results when a person with more or less fully adult reasoning capacity is consistently expected to perform like a child.

tl;dr: Treat teens like adults, and they might surprise you.


So I should be wondering why 15 year olds are still living with their parents, instead of supporting themselves?

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:17 pm UTC

You wouldn't have to wonder very long. The answer is "because society works that way right now"
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:24 pm UTC

Belial wrote:You wouldn't have to wonder very long. The answer is "because society works that way right now"


Good point, sorry.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Girl™ » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:32 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
So I should be wondering why 15 year olds are still living with their parents, instead of supporting themselves?


Lawl whut? They used to do exactly that. Still do, in some countries. Our society doesn't sanction that any more, but doesn't mean 15-year-olds are inherently incapable.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby hellmitre » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:33 pm UTC

Personally, what I've noticed is teenagers lack impulse control. I like to think I'm decently mature for my age and almost never get into arguments with anyone (by argument I mean back and forth stupid shouting match), but I do like to debate. I realized early on in my teenage years that there were lots of other points of view that differed from my own, yet I could imagine that point of view and see why some person thought the way they did. It's been very good for me on the most part, being able to put myself in someone else's shoes and find motives for actions, which prevents me from hating anyone. Even people whom others feel are 'just assholes' I can find reasons for their actions and can't really blame them. It can almost be debilitating.
I think one of the major reasons for this is my mom. From as soon as I could talk, she would describe things to me and talk with me fully taking into account my position. She would never dismiss my feelings or ideas without thinking about them, always took the time to reason out with me why my views might be skewed or different, and help me understand why she was feeling or saying what she felt. I never felt scared that if I said something egregious, she would be angry at me forever and stop loving me; whenever we'd argue, she would calm down and tell me later why she felt like she did and we'd come to a mutual understanding.
Many teenagers don't have such a wonderful adult who makes them feel validated and like they don't have to reflexively defend their opinions. So I think they come to the conclusion, probably subconsciously, that no matter what they think, adults (or simply other people) will immediately dismiss them as invalid, and hence have to hold onto their opinions tenaciously.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Akula » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:34 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:
zenten wrote:
So I should be wondering why 15 year olds are still living with their parents, instead of supporting themselves?


Lawl whut? They used to do exactly that. Still do, in some countries. Our society doesn't sanction that any more, but doesn't mean 15-year-olds are inherently incapable.


Well its still not unheard of here even. There are certianly cases where the parents are bunch of freaking deadbeats of the highest (lowest?) order. And there are kids who get themselves emancipated.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby popple » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:40 pm UTC

Teenagers around here are starting to be taken more seriously now, recently we had a big thing about the voting age being lowerd to 16, and yesterday it was voted on in our little states of deliberation, and the voting age was lowered to 16. which is nice. im definately going to get on the register and vote, im just hoping that everyone that now gets the vote doesn't do something to make people think it was a bad idea... not that they will just because they are 16, just people who thought it was a bad idea, might be looking out for things that go wrong.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:44 pm UTC

popple wrote:Teenagers around here are starting to be taken more seriously now, recently we had a big thing about the voting age being lowerd to 16, and yesterday it was voted on in our little states of deliberation, and the voting age was lowered to 16. which is nice. im definately going to get on the register and vote, im just hoping that everyone that now gets the vote doesn't do something to make people think it was a bad idea... not that they will just because they are 16, just people who thought it was a bad idea, might be looking out for things that go wrong.


Wow, that's pretty damn cool actually.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby libellule » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:44 pm UTC

This is a somewhat mushy-feel-the-love comment from someone as harsh as I usually am, but I find myself amazed at how coherent and analytical some of the younger fora members can be. When they lapse into more age-typical neuroses or pop-culture frivolity, it is often jarring. Then I remember their youth. In fact, the spread of ages on these fora is one of the things I find most appealing. It makes the younger ones more thoughtful and the older ones more open.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby theonemephisto » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:16 pm UTC

Dan Frank wrote:
22/7 wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
theonemephisto wrote:... Of course, in the last year or so, I've grown a lot. An interesting thing that I've noticed, especially when I occasionally go back to look at some old threads and posts I may have made in them, is that I really was pretty crude, not necessarily immature but it's quite easy to tell that I would easily begin to ramble, saying the same thing over and over again, and that I didn't present arguments well. Now, I believe that I'm a much better debater and that I'm much more coherent in general, but looking back on that time makes me realize that my perspective on myself is very different than what it might really be.


Do you honestly believe that it's only teenagers that do this? I haven't been a teen for quite a while, but I still do this. The only people who don't do this are people who aren't improving. And since nobody's perfect (or even close to it), there's no excuse for not improving. There are lots of nice examples of this, too... for instance, most authors hate reading their earlier work, because of how much they've improved since writing it.


He probably would have said that if he believed it? He was using an anecdote, not statistics, and therefore was not claiming a trend.


Well, maybe I should have included his following paragraph too... I just didn't want the quote box to get overwhelmingly big.

theonemephisto wrote:So basically, yes, often times teenagers will have less coherent and supported arguments. This may not be for all of them, but chances are that they (we?) haven't matured long enough to really begin to understand things and to have an open mind, though it is continuing to grow (hopefully). I certainly know that I've been maturing and developing a different mind as my experience grows, and I doubt that most teenagers are more developed than me. There's simply an age that people start to get it, and if you're trying to have a discussion with them before that then things can be difficult. However, there are such things as mature, complex teenagers who really know what they're talking about, so judging by age still shouldn't be the norm. The best way to judge people on the internet is to judge their words.
.


It seems to me he is extrapolating that it's mostly teenagers that do what he described before. Maybe I just infered too much, though. Wouldn't be the first time.

Yes, I do believe that more teenagers are like that. My personal anecdote was supposed to show that many people that will eventually become rational, logical people aren't quite so rational as teenagers.

Basically, people who aren't rational won't be rational as teenagers for the most part, but many people who are rational will be irrational as teenagers. I'm not trying to make any general assumptions, but I do think it's true that teenagers are more likely to be that way (just take a walk through my school to find that out).

Of course, it doesn't really matter on forums because if you don't want to give out your age you don't. People will usually already have an assumption in mind based on your writing, revealing your age doesn't matter.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:22 pm UTC

theonemephisto wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:*lots of quotes, snipped to save space*

Yes, I do believe that more teenagers are like that. My personal anecdote was supposed to show that many people that will eventually become rational, logical people aren't quite so rational as teenagers.

Basically, people who aren't rational won't be rational as teenagers for the most part, but many people who are rational will be irrational as teenagers. I'm not trying to make any general assumptions, but I do think it's true that teenagers are more likely to be that way (just take a walk through my school to find that out).


I think what I object to is the way you seem to split people into two camps, rational and irrational. I tend to think the two kinds of people change constantly, getting more or less rational depending on a host of different circumstances and influences. I don't think there is some age at which people suddenly 'get it' and stop being irrational.

Teenagers certainly tend to be more ignorant than older people. So when they act irrationally, I think it looks worse on them, because the combination is particularly bad.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby theonemephisto » Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:06 pm UTC

Dan Frank wrote:I think what I object to is the way you seem to split people into two camps, rational and irrational. I tend to think the two kinds of people change constantly, getting more or less rational depending on a host of different circumstances and influences. I don't think there is some age at which people suddenly 'get it' and stop being irrational.

Teenagers certainly tend to be more ignorant than older people. So when they act irrationally, I think it looks worse on them, because the combination is particularly bad.

I have to go take care of work for a couple hours, but I'll be back.

Well, I split people into two camps for simplicity's sake. My point was that I believe that people tend to generally have a positive drift on the rationality scale, which would make it obvious that teens would have more on the irrational side.

And it isn't just ignorance. Many teens I know simply don't know how to argue, don't know how to formulate an argument, and don't know how to view a side from multiple sides. Not having a knowledge base certainly compounds the problem, but it isn't the only thing.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:03 am UTC

You think that maybe the problem with forming a coherent arguement isn't inherent with the teen? (American) schools don't help students develop reasoning skills or debate unless you're in a club or an honors class. I went through two years of high school before I found a teacher who could defend his subject without paraphrasing 'because I am the teacher.'
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:14 am UTC

Ageism is, allow me to be frank, despicable.

The assumption that teenagers are an entirely different species (the moment you are no longer a teenager you're an entirely different person, think about it, think of a nineteen year-old. Think of a twenty year old. They seem not at all alike, do they?) is rather ridiculous. Teenagers didn't exist until our society started nanny-operations. However, we continue to look down on the teen-aged population as inferior to the adult population. Certainly there can be cases of this, but there really is no great trend, as mentioned previously, confirmation bias.

Taking teenagers seriously is a rather basic thing. You need to take ageism out of your mental decisions. Treat a child just like you do an adult, then start adjusting your conversation to the other person's mental capacities. This is judging on merit, rather than an arbitrarily increasing factor.

Why is this so hard for people? That is not a rhetorical question. To quote Randall out of context: "I mean, Damn."

Also, somebody mentioned above that no good comes of revealing your age. This is entirely correct, and I did not even consider sharing my age with the xkcd fora until I was an established poster and taken seriously. And still some people treat me differently.

So, if anyone missed it, I'm sixteen.

Excuse me whilst I dredge up Darque's personal essay on ageism. It was delectable.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby kristjansson » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:31 am UTC

Just my two cents before reading the thread in depth. I fall squarely in your 17 and under demographic, and I can completely understand what you are saying. A lot of us are either too attention-challenged, immature, or careless to try and discuss an issue in a rational way. I know, cause I send eight hours a day with them. I certainly don't exclude myself from our collective shortcomings either. I know there are many times where I've posted completely BS in threads beyond me in maturity, if not intellect, or have been slow to realize where I've been wrong. The absolute certainty of one's convictions is sort of the teenage condition.

However, you would be remiss to categorically state that ALL teenagers ALL the time fall victim to these shortcomings. I know on the rare occasions that my philosophy or LA classes are sufficiently awake, fed, and caffeinated, teenagers can have some inspired, or at least interesting and sensible discussions.

As I'm sure everyone has stated though, nominal distribution over the various demographics tells us that there are going to be a few teenagers with the intellectual abilities and maturity of a 50-year-old Ivy League professor, and there are going to be some stupefying immature asshats of adults. Compare, say, the wisest, most mature person from your high-school years to a fundie. Yea.

-Drew K. (16 y/o, private school educated, if that makes a difference.)

Edit: Lots of people seem concerned not so much with the precise mental state of teenagers, but their ability to communicate or argue effectively. I can say that I, for one, take great pride in my spelling and word choice, and perhaps a few creative liberties with grammar :). However, I think a lot of my fellows are too used to IM and text, which is rapidly becoming its own language, and are incapable of mentally switching gears to a more formal manner of writing which this board especially demands.

Secondly, unsubstantiated arguments are an issue for all age groups, not just teenagers. Everyone says something completely untenable sometime, it's just a question of taking the effort to identify those things and shut your mouth before it comes out.

Wow, I need to refine this into a little more of a coherent statement. It does seem, however, that all of the perceived errors in teenage thinking and communicating can be attributed to simple sloth. I'm not sure everything can, but keep in mind, we're a demographic (and I know I'm guilty of this) that will actually consider sitting on the couch and watching Rock of Love for another hour or so instead of walking a few feet to the remote, so the kind of effort required to edit a post for grammar or actually provide supporting evidence requires a serious cost benefit analysis.

Oh, and Robin, if you're kind enough to read this again, where abouts did you go to school?

Razzle Storm wrote: Although, I was kind of a mature teenager. I often hear about teens getting in shouting matches with their parents, which is weird, because everyone knows you can't think or accept things when you're angry.


Amen to that. I've never shouted at my mom, just stubbornly refused to concede :).

eternauta3k wrote: That's why I can't listen to music on the bus or while walking home... I use that time to think. My friends just put on their headphones and go on standby


Don't other people find music conducive to thought? Not billboard chart stuff, but perhaps some good classical or lyrical stuff, stuff that involves poetry, either of the word or the note?
Last edited by kristjansson on Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:14 am UTC, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:35 am UTC

(16 y/o, private school educated, if that makes a difference.)
It doesn't, as far as I can tell. When I was 16 and at a private school, I thought most of the people were dicks, but from what you've said so far you definitely don't come across that way.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby kristjansson » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:05 am UTC

First post was getting too messy, so:

In summary, poor communication, mental incapacity for logic, and general asshattery are not aliments exclusive to teenagers. This is easily proved by example if one surveys the various dark recesses of the internet (Gen[M]ay on a bad night, for example. Though, one might argue that some of the apparent stupidity on that board is a work of creative genius, especially if one considers some of the things they've done intelligently, IE Walken '08. But I digress).

Secondly, intellect, maturity, and logical reasoning are not qualities exclusive to the over-30 set. This is a little harder to prove on the internet, though some people here, or the technical abilities of some of the torrenting communities might yield examples.

Thirdly, teenagers do not 'need to be taken with a grain of salt' or treated differently. The great power of the internet is that it removes most prejudgments and allows one to evaluate each post on its own qualities, case by case. Take advantage of this, instead of saying, "Oh, he's not 30, he has nothing of value to contribute.

Fourthly, when one does encounter a teenager that fails the community standards of logic or communication, or whatever, realize that, while it may be due to an intellectual deficiency, it is more likely that that person is simply too lazy to properly formulate their thought, and spare them your harsher judgments. Most teenagers can write a coherent paper when pressed, they just don't choose to.

-Drew K.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:15 am UTC

Oh, and Robin, if you're kind enough to read this again, where abouts did you go to school?
Whitgift School. I've got a feeling that my entry on the "Stalk me on the interwebs" thread wasn't going to go anywhere, anyway...

when one does encounter a teenager that fails the community standards of logic or communication, or whatever, realize that, while it may be due to an intellectual deficiency, it is more likely that that person is simply too lazy to properly formulate their thought, and spare them your harsher judgments. Most teenagers can write a coherent paper when pressed, they just don't choose to.
I have known a lot of teenagers laugh at me for things such as always writing formally. If this is merely peer pressure, why do it in private when they know I'm not going to mention it to anyone else? (You lot don't count :P)
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:16 am UTC

[quote="Robin S If this is merely peer pressure, why do it in private when they know I'm not going to mention it to anyone else? (You lot don't count :P)[/quote]
Simply put, habit.
Most teenage writing is done in school, where most of the day is spent. School is also where the Bad Grammar Peers are, so the habits are carried over into private communication. Gross generalization I know, illustrating a point.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Solt » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:00 am UTC

Dan Frank wrote:
Solt wrote:The real question is, why the hell do we spend countless hours on the internet debating things with total strangers?


Because exposing our theories and beliefs to criticism is the best way to improve them. And doing so through the internet provides some valuable things that are a lot harder to get in person: You can discuss things with vastly more people than would otherwise be practical, and it's much easier to stay calm and rational, and you have more time to compose your thoughts before saying your piece.


While those reasons may be true, and good justifications, they have nothing to do with why I actually do it. I don't say "I want to have my beliefs scrutinized by a diverse audience today" and go post inflammatory opinions on some forum. I think it's something more innate than that.


[offtopic]In any case, the forum format is not very conducive to productive discussion. It is much better at promoting adversarial argument. A format for productive discussion would emphasize writing summaries of the argument at the end. And arguments would not be developed as point-counterpoint, but rather as "start with x assumptions and see what they imply, in a cooperative process."[/offtopic]
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:27 am UTC

Solt wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
Solt wrote:The real question is, why the hell do we spend countless hours on the internet debating things with total strangers?


Because exposing our theories and beliefs to criticism is the best way to improve them. And doing so through the internet provides some valuable things that are a lot harder to get in person: You can discuss things with vastly more people than would otherwise be practical, and it's much easier to stay calm and rational, and you have more time to compose your thoughts before saying your piece.


While those reasons may be true, and good justifications, they have nothing to do with why I actually do it. I don't say "I want to have my beliefs scrutinized by a diverse audience today" and go post inflammatory opinions on some forum. I think it's something more innate than that.


That may be. I can't really speak for anyone but myself, I suppose.

Solt wrote:[offtopic]In any case, the forum format is not very conducive to productive discussion. It is much better at promoting adversarial argument. A format for productive discussion would emphasize writing summaries of the argument at the end. And arguments would not be developed as point-counterpoint, but rather as "start with x assumptions and see what they imply, in a cooperative process."[/offtopic]


Personally, think that most arguments (not sure about "adversarial"; depends on if you mean "one person against another" or if you mean it with more hostile baggage) are productive discussions. Or, can be, if one lets them.

I learn quite a bit from arguing, and trying to defend my opinions. And over the years, I have had some pretty major worldview shifts whenever I was unable to reasonably defend my position. Most of the productive arguments I've been in were carried out through email lists (which tend to end up with a very similar format to most forums), only because I've not much experience with forums.


On another note, thanks for your passionate contribution, Insignificant Deification.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Solt » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:40 am UTC

Dan Frank wrote:I learn quite a bit from arguing, and trying to defend my opinions. And over the years, I have had some pretty major worldview shifts whenever I was unable to reasonably defend my position. Most of the productive arguments I've been in were carried out through email lists (which tend to end up with a very similar format to most forums), only because I've not much experience with forums.


Yes, it's definitely productive for the people who are participating in the discussion. But it doesn't really work so well for the third party who's just trying to learn something. Unless you're lucky, only 2 people learn from an argument between those two people, because of they way it is structured. When you are arguing, you point out the holes in the other person's reasoning, and you certainly don't bring up the holes in your own argument. This is a practice in figuring out who is better at arguing, not in pursuing truth. Who's to say that a third party would defend a point in the same way as the side he agrees with? Who's to say the third party operates on the same assumptions as the side he agrees with? If their approaches are different, will the third party learn anything? No, the argument wont even address his points!

But everyone can learn from Wikipedia, where they arguments are summarized after they have been developed at great length through careful thinking and discussion.
"Welding was faster, cheaper and, in theory,

produced a more reliable product. But sailors do

not float on theory, and the welded tankers had a

most annoying habit of splitting in two."

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:47 am UTC

Insignificant Deification wrote:Ageism is, allow me to be frank, despicable.

The assumption that teenagers are an entirely different species (the moment you are no longer a teenager you're an entirely different person, think about it, think of a nineteen year-old. Think of a twenty year old. They seem not at all alike, do they?) is rather ridiculous. Teenagers didn't exist until our society started nanny-operations. However, we continue to look down on the teen-aged population as inferior to the adult population. Certainly there can be cases of this, but there really is no great trend, as mentioned previously, confirmation bias.

Taking teenagers seriously is a rather basic thing. You need to take ageism out of your mental decisions. Treat a child just like you do an adult, then start adjusting your conversation to the other person's mental capacities. This is judging on merit, rather than an arbitrarily increasing factor.

Why is this so hard for people? That is not a rhetorical question. To quote Randall out of context: "I mean, Damn."

Also, somebody mentioned above that no good comes of revealing your age. This is entirely correct, and I did not even consider sharing my age with the xkcd fora until I was an established poster and taken seriously. And still some people treat me differently.

So, if anyone missed it, I'm sixteen.

Excuse me whilst I dredge up Darque's personal essay on ageism. It was delectable.

Teen years: if you're not angry, you have no self-respect.

No. I mean that. People say teenagers get into fights and become angry more easily. Has anyone considered how easy we humans find it to feel angry when others consider our opinions, needs or desires (even with respect to nothing more or less than ourselves) of less value than the proverbial fart in the wind?

When I was a teenager there was something that could always trigger a fight, because my parents wanted me to live one way and I wanted (and still want) to live in another way. This was not a choice that any adult has the power to make for any other adult, but because I was a teenager, I was given this basic dialog:

Me: "Mom, Dad, XXXYYZZZ."
Parents: "Eli, go shit in the ocean. Actually, don't go shit in the ocean because you have school tomorrow. Instead, stop arguing, finish your homework, and go to bed."
Me: "STOP ARGUING!? That's a direct appeal to illogic! You're refusing to address the issues or let me make my own choices!"
Parents: "We're your parents. STFU and do as we say if you want to live in this house.*"**

In what we normally term "the real world", that technique of debate is alternatively called either the "appeal to authority" or "stonewalling". It is universally regarded as a logical fallacy, but for some reason we have a strange blind spot for logical fallacies or blank-check authority as applied to anyone below the age of 18.

Coincidentally, I'm now 18 (did that match your guess?), and I still haven't given in on that argument. I've switched to more... peaceful tactics, but I still fully intend to get things my way. My body, my choice, as they say.

* -- "My house, my rules" would actually make sense if disobedient children could file for legal emancipation on grounds that they don't wish to obey their parents. Instead, courts only grant de jure emancipation in cases where the child has lived in de facto emancipation for an extended period.
** -- This is not a distorted memory. At several points my parents actually employed the phrase "shut the fuck up", along with milder but more common variants such as "shut up".

Please note that my childhood and teen years were much, much rougher than any typical such period. They are not representative of teenagers or teenaged-experiences in general.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:16 am UTC

Solt wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:I learn quite a bit from arguing, and trying to defend my opinions. And over the years, I have had some pretty major worldview shifts whenever I was unable to reasonably defend my position. Most of the productive arguments I've been in were carried out through email lists (which tend to end up with a very similar format to most forums), only because I've not much experience with forums.


Yes, it's definitely productive for the people who are participating in the discussion. (Superfluous text snipped)


Excellent. We're in agreement, then.


aleflamedyud, while your parents may have been particularly bad, situations with enough similarity to still be repugnant are the norm.

What really irritates me is that the situations in which a parent is most likely to "put their foot down", and use the "because I say so" argument are when they have been unable to convince their child that they're right. But if they're unable to present a reasonable and rational argument, isn't that precisely the least likely time you'd want to just take them at their word? Godwin said it much better than I ever could...

Godwin wrote:If he who employs coercion against me could mould me to his purposes by argument, no doubt he would. He pretends to punish me because his argument is strong; but he really punishes me because his argument is weak.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby malarkie » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:36 am UTC

I really think everyone who has posted in this thread agrees.
Is there a dissenter in the house somewhere?
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