Utne Blogs > Literature

The 15-Year-Olds Speak

by Staff


Tags: fifteen, the age, Dawson’s Creek, drinking, technology, ,

They’re the best of times, the worst of times. It’s Dawson’s Creek meets Waiting For Godot set in a high school lunchroom with all the melodrama of Days of Our Lives and all the pathos of a war-zone. It’s the horror of being 15.

The Australian newspaper The Age has put together a multimedia report on what life is like during this “pivotal age, on threshold of adulthood, but not quite there yet.”

The report takes a look at three big issues: sex, alcohol and technology. (Apparently the internet has edged out rock ‘n’ roll in the good old trifecta.) Not too surprisingly, 15-year-olds are drinking, some are having sex, and they’re basing a lot of their identities on a mashup of social networking websites, e-mail, and text messaging.

More gripping are the video interviews with actual 15-year-olds. In these visceral clips, young people struggle with how to express themselves on important issues—not as children but, for the first time, as adults. As they describe the world they live in (one of parties made tipsy with sugary alcoholic concoctions and surreptitious make-out sessions), it’s evident they’re trying to figure out who they are, where they stand, and what they’re going to do about things. All the burgeoning responsibilities of adulthood.

Brendan Mackie