A teenager is a person aged 12-19, in the transitional stage between childhood and adulthood. Ideally, most teenagers are dependents of at least one parent or other guardian figure, but all over the world may take jobs to supplement themselves or their families, or for essential/mandatory household support reasons. When grouped together with children below the age of 12 and older peers that may not yet have full legal or household independence, teens, kids, and young adults may be referred to collectively as youth.
Teenagers under a certain age in many countries may not be able to vote or participate in politics, may not have easy access to health and social service resources, may not have financial support or legal full independence, may depend on public services such as education, or otherwise are not treated as self-sufficient persons under social codes and laws. Philosophies, systems, and attitudes that restrict the presence, opportunity, accessibility, freedom, or other aspects of being a teenager can be considered ageist.
Pressures upon teenagers
The institutional forces influencing and even hurting teenagers are intersectional and systematic, because laws and social codes designed to protect children fail when confronted with teenagers that are often falsely coded as adult, yet not legally endowed with adult agency.
The sexualization of teenage girls and the concept of "jailbait" or statements like "I didn't know she was under 18" are artifacts of rape culture that prefers girls and women with less agency to withold consent. This goes doubly for girls of color, who face racial genres of unique misogyny, such as yellow fever "Asian Schoolgirl" fixations, or the perception of black girls as older and more sexual than white peers.
Disproportionately victims of homicide, black teen boys have the highest mortality rate among youth aged 12-19 in the USA, though this figure is not intersectional with transgender statistics or sexuality/queer statistics.
Out of an estimated 1.6-2.8 million homeless youth in the USA, 20%-40% of that figure is transgender, gay, or otherwise not cis/straight.
Disabled and neurodivergent youth may not find a safe social environment or enough accommodations in schools and public services, rendering these places exclusionary and less providing of opportunities than for their able, neurotypical peers.
- Humans of Tehran, by Paul Mutter
- Mortality Among Teenagers Aged 12–19 Years: United States, 1999–2006
- Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers
- Bullying Involvement and Autism Spectrum Disorders Prevalence and Correlates of Bullying Involvement Among Adolescents With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Drop Out Rates of Teenagers with Learning Disabilities