If we are to believe everything we read in the newspapers and see on TV all teenagers are essentially hooligans who hang around street corners preying on old ladies, beating up young children and generally being unpleasant. As the mother of a teenager I would never claim that my son isn’t a nuisance at times, but he is well brought up, generally considerate and has a great bunch of friends. The same goes for my 14 year old niece who on Saturday went on the bus with 3 friends (a boy and 2 girls) to her local shopping centre. While there they were generally harassed by a large group of youths who were generally much older than them. They became concerned about the antics of the group and told the shopping centre security people who told them in no uncertain terms that there was nothing that could be done. Outside though things got nasty and they were threatened with knives and chased, the children rang the police and were told by the operator (who mistook hysteria for children mucking about) to grow up and go away. Having been followed to the bus, but once on board able to get safely home, they realised that they had had a lucky escape. Ok so they should have contacted a parent, but they thought they were doing the right thing in contacting security and the police. My sister in law is in the process of getting the police to investigate the matter, but the whole episode is a sad indictment of the way we treat teenagers today. We assume they are the trouble, not the potential victims. We treat them with disdain and fear then wonder why they act in the way they sometimes do. Teenagers are mostly not angels, but they are most definitely not the devil incarnate either.