Entries in Teens (77)


Ga. High School Teens Suspended for Getting Piercings in Locker Room

Creatas(ATLANTA) -- Four teenage girls at an Atlanta high school were suspended after they snuck away to the gym locker room to endure amateur tongue, navel, and lip piercings during school hours.

Reon Grinage, 14, told ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that a friend of hers came to Cross Keys High School with a piercing kit she ordered off the Internet.

One day after gym class, the two teenagers, as well as two other girls, waited in the locker room. But instead of changing from their gym clothes to their school clothes to go to lunch, the four hung back to get pierced.

"She was like, 'Do you want to do it?' I was like, 'Sure.' And she had the whole kit and everything," Grinage told WSB-TV.

Grinage got a stud through her tongue, as well as her belly button. The friend with the piercing kit charged each of the girls $5 per piercing, WSB-TV reported.

"She used the same needle on that one girl that she did on the other girl," Grinage said.

One of the teens even suffered a lip infection following the unsafe piercing practices, Grinage said.

Once one of the girls' mothers found out about the "piercing party," she alerted school administrators. The girls were suspended for 10 days, WSB-TV reported.

Grinage's aunt, Lena Harrison, told WSB-TV that she was surprised none of her niece's teachers noticed her piercing.

"She saw four other teachers after this. Not one of them said, 'Is something going on with you that you can't talk?' Harrison told WSB-TV. "How did nobody hear girls in the bathroom getting pierced? Because I know it was quite an adventure."

School officials told WSB-TV that the locker room was unsupervised at the time of the piercing incident, and their policy for such supervision was under review.

According to the Cross Keys High School website, the school has a dress code, under which students are expected to "observe high standards of neatness and cleanliness."

"A student's appearance can positively or negatively impact the climate of a school," the dress code states.

While the school's code does not address piercings, it does say "male and female students may wear conservative jewelry in a reasonable amount."

ABC News' attempts to reach Harrison were not successful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teens' Peer Struggles Can Forecast Long-Term Problems

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, teenagers who struggle to connect with their peers often struggle to make friends and avoid problems later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Virginia published the results of the study in the journal Child Development.

Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia, led the study. "Overall, we found that teens face a high-wire act with their peers," said Allen. "They need to establish strong, positive connections with them while at the same time establishing independence in resisting deviant peer influences. Those who don’t manage this have significant problems as much as a decade later."

The study followed approximately 150 teens for 10 years in order to determine whether there were long-term impacts to peer struggles during the adolescent years. The study found that there were long-terms effects, including difficulty managing disagreements in romantic relationships.

Additionally, the study showed that teens who were involved in minor forms of deviance were at higher risk of alcohol and substance use and illegal behavior later in life.

According to the study, teens who managed to connect with others while still standing up for themselves and "becoming their own persons" were rated as the most competent overall by age 23.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Colorado Teens to Drink with Parental Supervision?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- The state of Colorado will shift its focus away from recently legalized marijuana and toward underage drinking…with supervision, that is. Republican Senator Greg Brophy from Wray, Colo., hopes to propose a new law that would allow 18-year-olds to drink alcohol at bars and restaurants with parental supervision.

Brophy told ABC News that the bill is almost finalized and is in drafting but it should be presented in the next few days.

Brophy told ABC News that he thought that 18-year-olds should have this right because alcohol is a legal substance that they would be consuming legally in a mere three years anyway. "It would be a good idea for young adults to learn about responsible use of this product with responsible adults."

When asked why 18 was the chosen age, Brophy said, "As a society we have arbitrarily chosen that age to convey upon people most of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood." He continues, "At 18 people are old enough to enter into binding contracts, they are old enough to vote, and to serve our country. Age 18 is the number that society has chosen, so I figured we would start there."

As of now, Colorado's drinking laws are fairly lenient. The Centennial State allows its under-agers to consume alcohol on private, non-alcohol-selling premises, with parental supervision, for educational purposes (such as culinary students), and for medical or religious purposes.

"Why is it appropriate for the state to deny responsible parents the opportunity to show their own adult children how to safely and responsibly consume adult beverages in public?" Brophy asked.

Under Brophy's proposal, parents would need to provide their ID as well as identification for their child. However, the server would ultimately have the say on whether alcohol would be served to the underage person.

Pete Meersman, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, says that he is opposed to the legislation: "It puts all the burden of making the decisions of who can and can't be served onto our servers and our operators."

Meersman continues, "We can have our license suspended or revoked if there is an issue with serving someone under 21 years of age."

The concern of the Colorado Restaurant Association is that they have no real way of discerning between a parental relationship. Meersman mentions the situations of young married couples where one partner is 21 and the other is not and he discusses complications dealing with civil unions and couples/families who do not share the same last name.

"We have no way of telling who is legitimate and who is not," Meersman says.

"If the bill passes, which we are opposed to, we will advise our members to not serve anyone who is under 21." Meersman continues, "We are not going to take any chances on losing our license and the liabilities will ultimately rest on the servers and on the restaurants."

If the legislation passes, Colorado would not be alone in their quest for consented alcohol consumption for young adults. Eleven states -- Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming-- allow the consumption of alcohol for 18-year-olds on alcohol-selling premises such as restaurants and bars with parental approval.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


How Teens Talk May Determine If They Want to Go to College

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you want to know whether your teenage girl wants to go to college, listen carefully to how she talks.

A new study from Michigan State University found that girls who were looking to further their education started changing the way they spoke in the hopes of fitting into a larger arena.  The girls spoke more carefully than casually and no longer shortened words like 'running' to the slang term 'runnin''.

Researchers concluded that girls with lower social and educational aspirations felt no pressure to change and no incentive to stop sounding local.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Bumping’ Your Way to Safer Sex With a Smartphone App

(NEW YORK) -- Let’s face it.  Teens have sex.  Parents may choose to ignore it, and teens may choose to deny it, but almost 50 percent of American high school students are having sex, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And each year, millions of those sexually active teens contract sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and HIV.

Now one doctor hopes to curb the spread of STDs in this tech savvy group with a smartphone app that lets users “bump” their STD status.

It’s called ‘safe bumping,’” said Dr. Michael Nusbaum, the New Jersey developer of MedXSafe, a feature of the new app called MedXCom.  “If you happen to be out at a bar or a fraternity house or wherever, and you meet someone, you can then bump phones and exchange contact information and STD status.”

The app’s special feature, according to Nussbaum, encourages dating singles to go to the doctor for regular STD checks.  Those who screen negative can ask their doctors to document their STD-free status on the app, allowing users to share the information with whomever they choose.

An alarming 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, and rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are on the rise, according to a new report released this month by the CDC.  More than 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported in 2011, up 8 percent from the previous year.  Cases of gonorrhea were up by 4 percent, marking the second consecutive year of increases.

Nearly half of all infections occur in young people, between the ages of 15 to 24, a group that can be particularly devastated by the associated health effects.

“[Some] undetected and untreated STDs can increase a person’s risk for HIV and cause other serious health consequences, such as infertility,” said Mary McFarlane, an acting chief in the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC.  Harnessing modern social networking technology to prevent these infections may appeal to a younger tech-savvy generation.

MedXSafe is just one of several Internet-based programs devoted to easing confidential STD-status sharing between sexual partners.  Services like, whose slogan is Spread the Love, Nothing Else and U Should Know, designed by a former college student and his girlfriend, also allow their users to check on a partner’s STD status.

But could these services offer a false sense of security to teens who believe that, with a simple phone bump, they have the green light to have unprotected sex?

“It can take months for HIV to show up on a test,” said Renee Williams, executive director of SAFE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to abstinence education.  “So you can test negative today, go out on Friday night and have sex, and then get retested later and find out that you had HIV all along.”

The app does nothing to prevent unplanned pregnancy, and may even encourage high-risk behaviors that young people might otherwise not have been tempted to try, said Williams.

Nor is the app likely to be completely reliable, said Dr. J. Joseph Speidel, director of communication at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.

“Does it come with a condom?” asked Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s chief health and medical editor, who’s also a pediatrician and former acting director at the CDC.

But the app’s creator said it does promote regular STD testing and encourages potential partners to openly discuss safe sex practices.

“We’re recognizing that this behavior is going to take place no matter what we do or what we say,” said Nusbaum.  “I have friends that are nuns and I’ve run this by them, and they also agree that it’s promoting safer behaviors.”

Although each program promises to keep health information strictly confidential, none are immune from cyber attacks.

But such attacks would not expose any users who have an STD, according to Nusbaum.  MedXSafe does not allow doctors to upload information about any tests that come back positive, including HIV.  A user with an infection is simply treated for the STD and then retested.  And that user is only confirmed STD-free via the app once subsequent test results come back negative.

Still, it is too early to tell whether these services will become popular with teens.  Lingering social stigma surrounding STDs might make potential partners reluctant to mention such an app when out at a party.

“It’s a big personal step to bring up using such an app,” said Noah Bloom, creator of a smartphone app called Jiber, which uses the same “bump” technology to electronically connect new friends.  “Who really wants anything in the way of getting lucky?”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marijuana Use Up Among Teens, Survey Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Marijuana use is on the rise among the nation's high school students, according to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health.  

The annual "Monitoring the Future" survey shows more than a third of high school seniors say they've tried marijuana within the past year, and views on pot are changing.  

A record low number of eighth graders believe it's harmful to occasionally smoke pot -- just 20 percent of 12th graders agree.  

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, highlights the dangers of teens not understanding the harmful effects of regular marijuana use.

"Marijuana use that begins in adolescence increases the risk they will become addicted to the drug, she says in a statement. "The risk of addiction goes from about 1 in 11 overall to about 1 in 6 for those who start using in their teens, and even higher among daily smokers."

The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, also shows use of the prescription stimulant Adderall is up, but illicit drug use overall continues to decline, as tobacco use, and alcohol intake also fall.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Task Force Recommends Anti-Smoking Counseling for Kids

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Are programs that aim to keep kids from smoking doing the trick? One group says -- sort of.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has given current programs like doctor counseling a "B" in how well they prevent kids and teens from lighting up. Task Force Member Sue Curry says there is definitely room for improvement.

"To get an A, there has to be strong certainty of a strong benefit," Curry says.

Every day almost 4,000 young people ages 12 to 17 try smoking for the first time, according to HealthDay News. One thousand become daily smokers.  Though it can take as long as two years for addiction to develop, some kids can become hooked on nicotine much faster, HealthDay reports.

The task force determined that children and teens could benefit most from counseling and educational programs. Curry says a child's doctor visit is a great place for the anti-smoking message to be driven home.

"It's an opportunity for the child's doctor and parent to communicate as well and for the clinician to provide some help to the parent in reinforcing the message," she says. "Using the influence and respect that youth have for their clinicians is another place where smoking prevention messages can be effective."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Girls Who Smoke at Increased Risk of Osteoporosis?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- If you're a female, and a teenager, and you smoke -- you could be setting yourself up for problems that already affect women disproportionately, according to a new study.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and more prone to break. It's much more common in women than men, and now a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that girls who smoke put themselves at an even greater disadvantage.

Scientists led by Dr. Lorah Dorn at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center studied 262 healthy girls between the ages of 11 and 17 for three years.  Over time, they found that girls who smoke showed decreased bone density, which could lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

The teenage years are crucial in a woman's bone formation because a girl gains as much bone in the first two years surrounding her first menstrual cycle as she loses in the last 40 years as an adult.  Women begin with lower bone density than men, and they lose bone more quickly as they age.  Consequently, the study authors say teen girls shouldn't give the process a head start by smoking.

The study also looked at symptoms of depression and alcohol consumption, and found that depressive symptoms also increase osteoporosis risk, but alcohol has no impact.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Doctors to Advise Teens on Emergency Contraception

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Does your teen know about Plan B? If not, he or she may soon get acquainted with it. All pediatricians are now encouraged to advise adolescents about the use of emergency contraception, according to Monday’s policy statement released online by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The statement says that pediatricians should inform teenaged patients about the use, availability, and effects of all forms of emergency contraception as a day-to-day practice. In addition, both male and female patients should be encouraged to get tested or treated for sexually transmitted diseases, and talk about regular contraception methods as a follow up to the use of emergency contraception.

Co-author and Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital Cora Breuner highlights the fact that these are not the same as abortion drugs or methods.

“These are progestin only medications that prevent fertilization. They do not prevent implantation, so these are not considered abortive drugs,” she says.

Breuner also states that the primary focus of the statement is to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies.  The United States continues to have a higher teen birth rate compared to developed countries. Breuner and her colleagues discovered that teenagers have been found to use emergency contraception more often if they are notified about it in advance.

“I think this will provide an impetus to have a conversation with your practitioner as a parent or a patient about what you plan to do about your own family planning and reproductive health before there has to be a discussion about "I had unprotected sex" or "I had non-consensual sex,” she says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Porn Before Puberty? Film Explores Childhood, Parenting in Sex-Saturated Culture

Sexy Baby(NEW YORK) -- "Is this slutty?" Danielle, having just put on a skirt, asked her friend Winnifred. Lady Gaga's "Monster" played in the background. "Just dance but he took me home instead/Oh oh there was a monster in my bed," the girls sang along.

"That's a good length," Winnifred answered. "It's short, but in a cool way, not, like, a slutty way."

Winnifred and Danielle are modern-day 12-year-olds. But they're not playing dress-up -- they're getting ready for a Lady Gaga concert.

Winnifred carefully curates her online profile, pushing her budding sexuality to jack up her Facebook "likes."

The documentary Sexy Baby, which was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows Winnifred's adolescence from age 12 to age 15, and delves into the world of porn before puberty. Winnifred's journey in the documentary reflects that of many pre-teens today, and through her eyes parents worldwide get a glimpse into the hyper-sexualized culture their children are facing today.

"I know I look like I'm down to f---," Winnifred says in the film.

The film explores how much social media adds fuel to the hormonal fire. Winnifred posted a revealing picture of herself with her bra showing. Why?

"It's awkward, and we're getting messages from everywhere that are saying, 'If you dress this way, you are going to be either treated well or you're gonna feel powerful,'" Winnifred told ABC News' Juju Chang.

Sex is power, and that's how a lot of girls and boys seem to feel these days.

Winnifred's mother, Jenny Bonjean, is a feminist who says she's trying to raise an uninhibited, empowered girl.

"My message to my daughter is, sexuality is a wonderful, beautiful thing. You should embrace it. ... It's not the only type of power you're gonna have. Unfortunately, it is in the culture the first power that they feel ... where 13-year-old girls can have influences on grown men," Bonjean-Alpart said.

"You don't think they realize that?" she continued. "It feels good to have power. ... You don't want to abuse it. Don't take it for granted. You need to find a balance."

Winnifred's father, Ken Alpart, described the two reactions he and his wife have to balance.

"We don't necessarily want her to dress certain ways," he said. "At the same time, we are raising our child to be an independent thinker."

Jenny Bonjean argued that early freedom could help prevent extreme acting out later on.

"We all know those women that went to college that had really, really strict parents who didn't let them experiment with anything, and they went wild in college. ... Girls gone wild, you know, is a phenomenon, and so many of those girls come from households, in my opinion, where they were tamped down on."

The risk is that allowing a child too much freedom to express her sexuality can lead her to act on it.

"I can put a very sexualized photo of me on Facebook and make it so my parents don't know, but every guy at my school does," Winnifred said. "So that does become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because when you make yourself look a certain way, people are going to expect you to be that way."

"I can make your bed rock," Winnifred, then 12, sings in the film. The song is rapper Li'l Wayne's "Bedrock."

Did she and her friends know what the song was about?

"We did realize how obscene it was [when we sang it in the film]," Winnifred told Chang. "I think because it was so mainstream, it wasn't shocking to us. ... If you hear that song f---ing three times a day for two weeks, they're easy to understand -- even when you are 12 or 13."

Music is just the beginning. Pornography itself has become mainstream and ubiquitous -- accessible even to kids.

"When I can reach into my back pocket [for my smartphone] and basically pull out some porn ... you can't really blame a bunch of children for not understanding how to deal with that," Winnifred said.

Winnifred said that when she was in eighth grade, boys watched porn on their phones at school.

According to the award-winning filmmakers of Sexy Baby, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, one in every five kids between ages 9 and 11 has watched porn. They hope their film will start a conversation between parents and their kids about how to maneuver the sexualized social media world.

The film includes a former porn star named Nicole who is an unlikely voice of reason about what porn sex is and isn't.

"It's definitely not making love," Nicole says. "Making love is the kind of sex that you wanna cry afterwards, just because it's so beautiful, and so emotional, and so powerful."

According to Sexy Baby, 30 years ago, 40 percent of adults said they watched porn, and now it's 80 percent.

Nicole, the former porn star and stripper, told the filmmakers she used to have to drive far and wide to find an adult store at the mall to buy her strip-club outfits. Now, she said, she can walk into any mall, look in the windows and stripper clothes and shoes are everywhere.

Perhaps ironically, given the "pornification" of America culture, the filmmakers are editing a tamer version of Sexy Baby for educational use -- to spark the healthy dialogue they see as vital.

Winnifred agrees. "I think if parents are able to talk to their children, and their children are able to feel comfortable talking about what real love and real sex later on is, I and most of the kids I know would trust our parents over two porn stars that we've never met."

Watch the full story on Nightline Thursday night at 11:35 p.m. ET

'Sexy Baby' is playing in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will be available on iTunes and Movies on Demand Nov. 6. A 60- minute educational version for children 14 years old and up is available too. For more on the documentary, go to

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio