Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Editor’s note: About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 62nd annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 29. 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. This essay addresses the issues covered by the Teen Topic group.
Our group at the Sun Youth Forum didn’t simply exchange theoretical ideas and practical suggestions. We shared our hearts and emotions.
In a discussion about how perceptions of sexuality have changed from past generations and what teens are concerned about in this regard, several individuals in our group shared their stories of coming out and the stresses they dealt with in the process.
We heard their concerns about not fitting in, about the disapproval of families and friends, and even about thoughts of suicide stemming from a feeling of rejection.
I stated my concern that individuals who are coming out aren’t being appreciated and loved enough, and many in the group agreed that we must act and become the change we wish to see.
Another topic that sparked much conversation was: “How is social media and the comparison of others affecting teens today?”
The group initially focused on how social media is negatively affecting teens and even initiating more suicide issues worldwide. But the conversation turned on a remark by Shay Mentley, who contended that social media was negative only when someone uses or views it that way.
From there, we acknowledged that social media has its pros and cons like any other platform, but it is the way one uses it that makes all the difference.
The Sun Youth Forum provides an excellent opportunity for some of Las Vegas’s brightest students to discuss questions that aren’t always talked about outside the classroom.
I know I will take to heart the viewpoints I soaked up from my group’s conversation. And most importantly, I’ll challenge my peers to do the same for the betterment of our world.
Mykel Broady is a senior at Sierra Vista High School.