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Teens need a place of their own

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Alexis Merkle, guest columnist

Teen boredom is a problem that needs to be dealt with in a healthy and positive manner. An article written by Kristine Tucker titled ‘Teenage Boredom’ points out that major things such as the loss of motivation, no desire to reach goals, negligence towards schoolwork, lack of involvement with extracurricular activities, and household chores along with many more negatives are an effect of teen boredom. Many kids want the freedom to be independent, but after receiving it as teens and now having more time on their hands, what are they to do with it?

A lot of teens have been getting into more and more trouble, with things ranging from vandalism to theft, all because they want something to do to pass the time. “They’re just kids, they’ll get over it.” Is a phrase adults have used while avoiding this problem. Another thing adults do is give harsh punishments, which do not lead to a positive solution but lead to angry teens. Instead of avoiding it or trying to wait it out or punishing kids for being bored, why not come up with a solution?

Other cities in Iowa have been building arcade-type places for teenagers to hang out at and enjoy themselves. I believe Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area should join them in this by building a place for 13- to 18-year-olds with good music to listen to, couches to hang out and chill with their friends on, a nice arcade area they can win stuff in and food, snacks, and drinks.

People may say it costs too much, but building these kinds of places will not only help keep kids on the right track and out of trouble, but also will bring more money to our economy with all the spending that takes place. We can even take a majority of the earnings and give them to our schools to keep them clean and up to date, bettering the education of each child. Another helpful thing is that it could give more job opportunities to teenagers, helping them to build the skills they need for future employment.

I have heard adults complain that they wish they had done more with their life and spent more time with their friends. Why should we continue to let that dreaded feeling drag down the next generations to come?

By building a fun place for teens to hang out, play games, listen to music, and enjoy good food, we’re pulling them away from doing more bad things and pushing them to enjoy themselves in a safe and fun manner. Being a teen, I would really love to see these places starting to show up in and around our city. We need to step up to it and do something that may potentially impact teens in a great way.

• Alexis Merkle, 14, enjoys chicken, always puts her family and best friends first and is a strong believer in equality.

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