Teenage life is filled with challenges. They often work to balance academics and sports while navigating through social media. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley continues her installment of Cafeteria Chats with students at Niagara Falls High School.
Sitting at a cafeteria table provides the ideal chance to ask students about school life. Four Niagara Falls High School seniors, Nico Salimbeni, Christian Meranto, Allie Hubert and Tyler Sanders joined us during their lunch break.
Sanders tells us he comes from a stable house hold with strong support from both parents, who make sure he completes his academics and sports.
One of the issues we presented in this Cafeteria Chat was the issue of teen violence. These students say it happens in and out of school.
“There’s a lot of teen violence – everywhere, not even just in our school, outside of our school. There’s just a lot of anger in people and fighting is one way that people get their violent believes out,” Sanders said.
“It’s definitely widespread – especially in a lot of the inner city areas,” Meranto explained.
Meranto tells us he has witnessed a couple of fights in the school, but he's never experienced teen violence personally.
“People don’t want to feel like undermine by other people and I guess the quickest way in their mind to solve the problem is through violence,” Meranto remarked.
“Well once you hear all the yelling and the smack talking going on and everyone starts to gather around and the two kids involved – they're almost, like, amped from it, and then the fight happens,” described Salimbeni.
Salimbeni said in-school fights don't occur very often and the worst thing to do is get involved. He credits the school for taking quick action when fights break out.
“Deans are almost already there, so they’re really quick. And the deans really take a good job of it, but they can only do so much like stuff still happens outside of school” noted Salimbeni.
“I actually do have a comment on like, fights and physical violence, especially in school,” declared Hubert.
Hubert said she believes violence among teens is “widespread.”
“Most of us have come to the thinking that it’s because they don’t actually want to fight. It’s just a way to pose and say ‘I’m cool’ or ‘I’m powerful’ or ‘I’m strong,’ but really they just want – like, people who fight – want the fight to be broken up as soon as possible because they don’t want to get hurt,” described Hubert.
Hubert suspects some of the fights are spawned by social media. She said she doesn't personally deal with cyberbullying, but some of her friends have experienced the problem.
“It’s just mentally really affected them in a negative way. It can be anything from personal, academics, weight. A lot of body image or just because somebody else might be jealous of you. People really bully other people for no reason,” Hubert responded.
Surprisingly, this group of students claims they are not as hooked on social media sites because they are so involved with balancing school work and their commitments to sports.
Meranto said he doesn’t use a lot of social media.
“Personally, it’s juggling my athletics and academics. I’m a three-sport athlete and also an honor student and at the same time, take a lot of AP courses, and it’s very hard to juggle the whole thing,” Meranto explained.
Like Meranto, Sanders doesn't use a whole lot of social media, but is aware of other students who face bullying both on- and offline.
“Well, I try to stay out of as much drama as I possibly can, personally, so I can’t really be put in that situation,” Sanders said.
Cyberbullying, talk of teen violence and time management are repeated themes we continue to hear at our “Cafeteria Chats,” but at each table, students share their diverse views and unique perspective of being a teen.
“Sometimes I tend to hang out with the guys who do sports, just because it’s out of as much drama,” said Hubert.
“For me, personally, just being able to juggle like sports. Academic life has been the hardest thing to do so far,” Sanders noted.
“I do not manage my time very well, so I’m often up very late doing my work, but it is worth it, so I can do my athletics,” Meranto explained.
“Personally, right now, it’s mostly between work and school, as well as getting scholarships and college education – like getting ready for college and prepping into that transition for adulthood,” Salimbeni stated.