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Issues Facing Teenager's Today

Updated on March 1, 2021
abbykorinnelee profile image

Bachelors Degree in Organizational Behavioral Psychology with a background in Autism, Mental Health, Business Psychology. Sales Management

Statistics of Teenage Drug Use

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Reality of Teen Drug Abuse

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Top Issues Teenagers Face Today: DRUGS

  1. Drugs
  • marijuana
  • crystal meth
  • cocaine
  • heroin
  • prescription narcotics

The initial experience of experimenting with an illegal drug is getting younger and younger. As of 2012 they are starting as young as the 8th grade on the harder drugs.

Marijuana is one of the drugs that kids even start years before 8th grade, in some cases. Kids are selling their parents medications straight from you medicine cabinets; which also means that kids are buying prescription medication.

The most common prescription medications being sold and/or bought by adolescents:

  • Vicodin
  • Valium
  • Adderal
  • Ritalin
  • Oxycontin
  • Alcohol (most common)

Adolescent controlled substance abuse; such as, Adderal and Ritalin are up 33%.

One in four teenagers are now abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lifetime. One in eight teenagers have specifically abused the stimulant medications used to treat Attention Deficit and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

  • Vyvance
  • Concerta
  • Adderal
  • Ritalin

The correlation to the increase in controlled substance abuse to 33% is apathy of the parents. They are oblivious to the trend of abusing stimulant medications; as well as the buying and selling from each other’s parents medicine cabinet. There is a lack of accountability in monitoring the medication.

In a study measuring ADHD medications and the parents belief that the medication improved their child’s academic performance; they found 1/3 of parents believed in the effectiveness.

20% of teenagers that reported they have abused stimulant medications, did so before they reached the age of 14. Teenagers were asked if they believed that it was dangerous to use prescriptions prescribed to another individual; despite the reason. 33% of the sample stated they did not believe it was dangerous..

Steve Pasierb, (President and CEO) of ‘The Partnership at www.drug free.org, stated that abusing prescription medications at an early age, is more likely to struggle with substance abuse as an adult.

’Natural News’ reported that despite the increased risk of substance abuse and addiction later in life; no actions have been made by parents to address the issue.

27% of adolescents have a false belief that taking someone else's prescription medications is safer than taking illegal drugs. They also report that they had more fear of being caught using illegal narcotics; such as cocaine or marijuana, than they did being caught with prescription medication.

Parents are unaware that they could be making it easy for their child to abuse prescription medications at home. 42% of teenagers whi abuse pills, typically get them from their parents medicine cabinets/dressers and purses.

Teens and Sex

2. Sex and Teens in the 21st Century: According to radical parenting online there are five "messy" teenage sex and relationship issues that adults, professionals, educators and parents should be aware of.

  • Date Rape - Date rape is common among teenage and college parties alike nationwide.
  • Meeting a partner - Teenagers have the perception that if they want to date someone they will despite anyone's views. Parents need to set clear boundaries and explain expectations in dating behavior to their adolescents. This is also a good time to explain teenage dating violence and how to identify unhealthy relationships.
  • "Restless Virgins" - Many teenagers today feel more pressure than in earlier generations to have sexual relations with other teenagers. They are in a hurry to lose their V-card and have sex for the first time under than ideal circumstances.
  • Female Oral Sex - In my high school days in the mid to late 90s giving oral sex to a boy was a huge deal and many girls would only do it in a committed long term relationship. Now a days there is a trend that girls will give oral sex to boys often, aren't embarrassed, don't consider it sex, but are embarrassed to receive oral sex from the male. It sets up a precedent for females to please males and not be treated equally and can be a dangerous way of thinking for young women. Oral sex in general needs to be addressed as a whole as many teenagers are being diagnosed with oral chlamydia and weren't aware you can contract STD's in their mouth and throat.
  • Masturbation - Masturbation is normal, common, and majority of teenagers are doing it and talking about it but parents have not talked with them about the act. It is a common and transcended generations of an awkward topic of conversation, more awkward than the birds and the bees and pollination.



#2 Top Issue in Adolescence: LGBT Sexuality

According to Purdue News, only 3% of medical professionals address LGBT issues with their adolescent patients. Research has identified a correlation between a physician’s discussing LGBT; and a higher percentage of teenagers that were willing to open up and ask questions. The more likely the doctor asked about sexuality; the higher the ratio of teenagers willing to discuss it.

Stewart Alexander, an associate professor of Consumer Science, focuses on health communication. The professor stated:

"Physicians are making their best efforts, but they are missing opportunities to create safe environments for teenagers to discuss sexuality and their health,"


Gay and Lesbian teenagers have an ability to typically be able to identify if their environment; or individuals who are engaging, is safe to open up to about sexuality. In an environment they can open up in, they are also more likely to explain their lifestyle choice. Setting the tone between doctor and patient is necessary. Communication is a very crucial step to creating comfort and security for the LGBT teenager. Teenagers with an alternative lifestyle is more likely to have no one they can open up and confide in.

LGBT teenagers have been found to be more negatively affected by sexual activity. They are more likely to contract a sexual transmitted infection. Those that identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual; actually, are more likely to get pregnant than a heterosexual female.

Sexual activity and Intercourse of a lesbian/gay female: resulting in a teen pregnancy, is most likely to have been coerced. It is more frequent among these youth.

Transgender‘s are four times more likely to contract HIV and highest rate of sexual violence, than heterosexuals.

Sexual orientation, gender identity, and related issues are found to not be reliably taught in sex education/health classes through the nation. When a school does include it in the curriculum, often the information is in a negative connotation and inaccurate.

In Alabama, any sex educator is required to teach the following ideals to their students:

“...homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public”

”...homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”

They are required to educate that moral ideal, instill the fear of the illegal aspect of their sexuality despite the ruling by the Supreme Court to be invalidated. They invalidated it ten years prior, but it hasn’t been changed.

Seven states in the United States currently prohibit the LGBT lifestyle to be portrayed in a positive manner throughout its education systems. As of 2012, no state had yet to mandate sexual education is required to include and discuss LGBT. As well as require that it should be approached in the same manner they approach the other sexual topics in the current curriculum.

In fact, only 4% of America's youth talked positively about the topic of an alternate lifestyle or the LGBT community. A female senior in high school stated:

“Because my school’s health program ignores the gay students, I have been pretty clueless about safe sex. I had to find information on my own on the Internet because non-straight students are ignored.”


The problem goes as far as to state a teacher's curricula,

"“Any same sex ‘sexual experimentation’ can be confusing to young persons and should be strongly discouraged.”


To further this point, some school's are told to "discourage" the lifestyle; as well as educate the students that being gay is "unnatural.” Even going further stating, “individuals that contracted HIV because they had “chosen” to be gay.”

Hostile school environments continue to hurt these youth; creating a barrier that prevents them from reaching their full academic potential. These students experience frequent harassment from peers, maintain lower grade point average's, have lower self-esteem, higher rates of depression, are four times more likely to attempt suicide, and more than half trans-gender adolescents do attempt suicide.

The "minority stress effect": LGBT kids use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs to relieve the stress they endure for their lifestyle, sexual orientation and identity. These behaviors further lead them to be stigmatized and discriminated against.

Jesseka Cladek

Jesseka Cladek, right, says that Meghan responded by posting a series of vulgar and hateful comments referencing her weight and appearance
Jesseka Cladek, right, says that Meghan responded by posting a series of vulgar and hateful comments referencing her weight and appearance | Source

Teenage mental health

Teens and Suicide: 21st Century and the Suicide Increases due to Additional Stressors Teens Didn’t Have Before

3. Teen Suicide

In the 21st Century teenage suicide is the third leading cause of death. Males are more likely than females to commit suicide, however females are more likely than males to attempt suicide. Hispanic adolescents are most likely than any other ethnic/racial group to attempt suicide, but American Indian/Alaskan Natives are the most likely to actually commit suicide.

Basic Facts about Teen Suicide

  • In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
  • In 1996, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among college students. It was the third-leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. It is the fourth-leading cause of death among10 to 14 years old.
  • From 1980 to 1996, the suicide rate amongst African-American males, 15 to 19 years old. saw a 105% increase in suicides.

The reasons for Suicide vary; but, there are many common reasons and situations where they decide to take their own life.

  • major disappointment
  • rejection by peers
  • rejection by a significant other
  • failure
  • break-ups
  • substance abuse
  • difficulty coping with extreme stress
  • unable to see their life turning around
  • cyberbullying

Recently a new approach was taken and started looking at suicide from a biological standpoint. They examined if there is a genetic/DNA component linked to the probability of a teen committing or attempting suicide; and measures any correlation to determine results.

The correlational study developed the theory that a factor in determination of risk; was the probability of substance abuse running in the families. They also added a factor of determination of risk o and so does mental health illness and disorders such as depression.

Recent research has also delved into the examination of the brain's chemistry. In illness such as Bipolar or Depression, neurotransmitters are responsible for an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that aren't at their normal levels. Those that have attempted suicide had a correlation to low levels of the neurotransmitter/brain chemical, Serotonin.

Serotonin is responsible for controlling impulsive, the lower the levels of this chemical, the less an individual can control their impulsively. Suicide is seen as an impulsive action. Medication can control the levels which in turn controls depression, impulse control and thoughts of taking ones life.

Teen Violence on TalkBack4Teens

Cyberbullying

When technology started taking off studies such as this one were being conducted and published and have contined in this trend. There have been many issues surrounding the bullying issue in today's youth and one is if there is actually a greater problem than when these adolescents parents were in their same grades at their same ages.

Jaana Juvonen, Professor (j_juvonen@yahoo.com), Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095. is the author of a study done regarding bullying made available by UCLA Children’s Digital Media Center and a UCLA Research Mentorship Fellowship to the second author. It was first published in 2008 and the purpose of the study was to examine the overlapping and targets of bullying that were now extending beyond school into the rest of a student's life with the growing technological advances available to youth. The study targeted adolescent's that were users of the Internet. The study further evaluated the assumptions of bullying and cyberbullying.

It tested 1044 adolescent youths in a web based survey, ages ranged from 12-years-old through the age of 17. In the course of the year 72% of the respondants reported at least one bullying online incident. Of the 72% that reported one case of bullying online, 85% of those adolescents experienced bullying inside their school institutions in addition to online bullying outside.

Of the one cases or more reported, the most frequent form of online bullying was in the form of name calling and insulting the intended target. In this study, 2008, the most common form was via instant messenger. Instant messenger could include but isn't limited to AIM or Yahoo IM. They access instant messenger on a personal laptop or home based PC and would receive IM's that were of this nature. When they used a controlled Internet group the increase in school bullying, increased the outside online bullying.

Of those bullied in these forms, they found that 2/3rds of the victims knew their bully personally. They knew their identity that is. Of the 2/3rds that knew their tormentor, half of them were actually in attendence in the child's own school.

The victims of both forms of bullying reported heightened social anxiety.

Of all those that reported that they had been bullied, nearly all of them at 90% reported on the survey they did not tell any trusted adult at home or school about the bullying behavior.



Is there a generation gap problem today that never existed before? Is this gap making the issue of bullying worse?


According to the Herald Sun, it was reported a judge stated that today's legal system is ill-equipped to handle today's bullyin; that is the form of cyber-bullying. Over the years this has been shown in cases where Teenage Suicide due to cyberbullying surfaced. The most notable that hit the news that brought light to the actual problem that the judge stated in that article is the case of the teenager Megan Meir.

The judge is in the New Zealand Judicial Youth Court System and was quoted to say the following that really brings to light a commonly debated topic of if the bullying issue is really as big a problem as they make it out to be, after all we survived it as kids why can't our kids right? Wrong. The judge further admitted that he had been ignorant and unaware to the extent the problem really was.

"We have all been teenagers and have all witnessed bullying," he said.

"But growing up with different technology means many in the justice system have not been directly exposed to the pernicious nature of cyber bullying, and its potential to be spread worldwide.

"Technology is changing all the time and at a rate faster than our legislative capacity has kept up with."

g.


Quotes From Teenager's Facebook

"Guys have no idea how long something they said can stay in a girl's mind."

"Sometimes I pretend to be normal, but it gets boring, so I go back to being me."

"Teenagers are the most misunderstood people on earth. We are treated like children but expected to act like adults."

Because I'm not the type of girl that guys fall in love with"

"I don't hate you, I'm just not necessarily excited about your existence."

"What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you, and what am I supposed to say when I'm all choked up and you're ok."

"I do a lot of thinking before I go to sleep. I play scenes in my head. I practice the things I want to say. I have endless "what ifs". I make plans for the next day. I think of all the people I miss. I think of all the ones I hate. I ask myself a lot of questions."

"Girls fall in love with what they hear. Boys fall in love with what they see. That's why girls wear make up and boys lie."

"I say I'm not pretty. Not because I'm looking for attention or compliments, but because that's truly how I feel. I don't believe that I am pretty because I can see everything you don't. I see how my stomach looks when I'm standing in my bra. I see the face under the make up. I see every little flaw about myself, even if you can't. I say I'm not pretty because I'd be lying if I said I was."


Coming from my own experience with the new kids my son has at his school (he just recently located to a small town from a big city), I have a perfect example of what they go through.

It had only been a week or two of school starting and my son was now in the 8th grade. He started the day at the high school for a more advanced class and he is the new kid in school in a small town where everyone has grown up together. He has never been "popular" but has always been well liked. He has had previous problems with excessive bullying that led to physical violence and has experienced a little bit of cyber-bullying before moving in with me for the last five years until he graduates. Since he was seven he has lived with his father and we have established a very honest and open line of communication. He doesn't lie to me and has told me everything, even if it was something he though he would get in trouble for. He knows that he can count on me over anyone else to be there for him and to support him. This line of communication is proving very useful.

He had made his first friend that was on the more unpopular yet not quite in the "nerdy" category. He was a decent enough kid and by the second day they came by the house he went out with them to explore the town. I do know what they did, and I wasn't at all surprised but they did openly tell me even knowing most likely they weren't supposed to do it. That the 13 year old relationship between the boys was an issue and one was saying that the other two were bad influences so he wouldn't hang out with the neighbor because of it; they did drugs and they picked on people. I went over and said so he doesn't want to come out with you. The smaller of the three said that the kid thought they were druggies and another one blurted out he was a thief. I said, "Do you do drugs? Because I have no problem running to the store to buy a piss test so we can find out right now if you are lying." He said no and I was sort of laughing but was serious. I turned to the other one and said, "He won't steal from me because let me tell you if I find out anyone of you are doing something like that I will hand deliver you to the cops and than your mamma after you dealt with me and you really don't want to deal with me."

The kids were then confronted later and I stated after the other mother said she didn't know if he looked like a druggie because she was fifty years old and she doesn't know what they look like. I jumped in to save that "we are idiot parent" image. I said, "I am 33 and I am probably younger than most of your parents as I had Danny when I was 19- a teenager myself so Danny got lucky to have a more laid back mom for the most part. I am the cool mom as I have been told by his old friends. I am letting you know now that either you are a good kid and you all have the other's backs and you don't do things to get my son caught up in trouble he doesn't need to be in, or you can be the bad one and have me breathing down your neck. That my son will tell me everything I ask him too so I will know what everyone is doing, at any given time, and who they are doing it with. I have family that knows the chief of police, so you really don't want to f#@! up around me."

Later they came by with two girls and two more boys and they were laughing and joking with me. Danny said everyone really liked me. So those were the popular kids in school and we encountered the younger 6th graders at the playground the next day. when my son walked home one of them approached me and asked if I was his mom. She said that they knew who Danny was but he was too popular to know who they were. I texted him and he said he knew who they were that he saw them the otherday. When I told her this she was beside herself that Danny knew of them. I asked her if she thought he was too popular that he wouldn't talk to them or that they couldn't talk to him. She said yes. I texted my son what she said and his response was "Oh, wow". Mind you he doesn't think he is popular and he told the girls he was nerdy. They weren't having it. Well, he came back up there as I asked him to and sat and chatted a little with the girls who now felt 100% better about themselves than they did before.

Not only that but I chatted and asked them questions and joked around with them. They became very comfortable and starting spilling the beans on everything...the bad influences, the popular kids, the slutty girls, the popular hangouts, the high school boys that hit on 12 year old girls, the parents, their parents, their siblings...I don't think there isn't anything I didn't get from them. I also scored a babysitter and a girl that will teach my son to snowboard this winter. They complimented me and told Danny how nice and cool and pretty I was. When they said how pretty I was I was afraid they would think I was the popular kid in school like my son. I took out a ninth grade band picture that definitely put me in their category and told them I wasn't popular until my senior year. I gave them a little hope to.

My point is from this portion is that these kids are dying inside to open up and respect an adult. You have to be able to read them and relate to them and not assume that the kid labeled a druggie is actually a druggie. Or that he is a bad kid because he smoked some pot. Maybe he needs an adult to put a little pressure on him because he doesn't have anyone setting rules. When we set rules it shows we care about them. An adult that can put the law down yet relate to them in other ways is what they need in their parents.

Frontier in Psychiatry: Addiction

Risks in early cannabis users to use further illicit drugs.  Compares the type of drug to the correlated risk in cannabis users. The next graph depicts the age group to illicit drug.
Risks in early cannabis users to use further illicit drugs. Compares the type of drug to the correlated risk in cannabis users. The next graph depicts the age group to illicit drug. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Abigayle Rourk

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    • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

      Abigayle Rourk 

      8 years ago from Ripon, Wisconsin

      You know it already feels good to have his 14 year old friend saying he feels comfortable telling me anything...and I can talk to his mom about it and it's a way he can feel heard too. I don't have the free mechanics yet but I did get a free babysitter, my son just got here and hasn't done it often and really doesn't like it nor does a great job and I had to stop letting him for awhile but his friend is a great sitter and volunteered so his mom and I could go out and he teaches my son in the process...its really cool already...I get a lot of backlash from many parents that don't agree with me but I know what their kids and mine are doing and they don't have a clue...because the kids tell me everything. Its not always nice to know some things as I want to cringe...but if they couldn't tell me who could the talk to?

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      See, you are going to survive it, and then later on, you're gonna get free legal advice, free plumbers, electricians AND get your car fixed for free----

      But most important of all, you're gonna have some kid, when he is fully grown, come back and say to you- "The times I spent at your house are the best memories in my life." and it will just blow you away!

    • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

      Abigayle Rourk 

      8 years ago from Ripon, Wisconsin

      That is exactly what I hope to think when I look back and evaluate if I did things right. Its so hard when you reach this age with them and you aren't very old because truthfully I still feel young and remember being that age. I love that his friend, when they got in trouble tonight, insisted to my son they shouldn't lie and just tell his mom (me) because he said I was not only the "cool" one but the one that would flip out and yell and not listen to them...that he felt they should tell me everything and even when they didn't and they got caught in a lie, my son's friend followed and listened to my advice, let me talk to his mom, let me talk to the person that was involved which was cop because they had another friend that decided it would be fun to tip over a porta potty after the game so my boy and his friend shrugged and said "its funny when they do it on youtube" and didn't think of the fact they shouldn't or that it was illegal and vandalism in some sort...and the two of them never get into trouble...so I had a cop at my door and two boys telling me they weren't lying. The cops said to me the two girls with them caved and told the truth so after talking to the cop about the boys "issues" or circumstances that were standing in my yard...and telling her that they never get in trouble like this together and I wanted to know who instigated it...I had the boys apologize, tell the truth, and give up who's idea it was...the kid with them that lived two dodrs away:)....All in all it was refreshing to have my son's friend, who's had some issues going on in his personal life, be so adamant that my so didn't have to hide things from me.

      I am not "cool", they say that, I just listen and I am not afraid to sit and say I am sorry or that I made a mistake. I am not afraid to talk to my kid and his friends like young adults in the making. I don't try to tell them not to feel the way they feel.

      I even gave my son my 8th grade journal and said he could read it and I gave him permission.

      If he did read it, he will see I know what he is going through on many levels, been through the same things, hear things I said from my 13 year old self...I wish I would have had that.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      Hey There, abbykorrinelee:

      You remind me of me when I was your age- was widowed at 31 with 3 young kids (my first at 20) and thought I would never make it through. I thought I would never be able to raise my kids right because I was still a kid...Was worried about my 6 year old son- what did I know about being a man?

      I ended up, like you, being the "cool" mom. The kids and their friends could tell me everything, because I believed that they were people, not just "kids". I made a lot of mistakes, I thought- always questioned and doubted myself, but one thing was sure- The kids were the most important things in my life!

      It is exhausting, but you will do it because you have the commitment and the love.

      Funny thing- the kids that I fed, talked to, befriended, that hung out at my house with my kids are all grown up now,, many with children of their own- my son grew up to be the finest man I have ever known, except, of course, for his dad. All of the friends from when my kids were kids? I still see them and hear from them all the time- they always ask how I am, and they grew up to be lawyers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, etc... and now that I am older, they are there for me.

      It's the hardest thing that you will ever do, but all worth it---and you will make it through just fine!

    • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

      Abigayle Rourk 

      9 years ago from Ripon, Wisconsin

      Truthfully, some think I just am no experienced parent because since he is my oldest, I had him at 19, that I am way to liberal in my tactics. Truth is I am strict in the areas that are necessary such as education. My son is a brilliant kid, he has high test scores and does well in school. I choose to bend in areas such as emotional outbursts during puberty and wait until he is calm to discuss a better way of handling things. I don't agree with pure negative reinforcement and punishment and children learn through positive reinforcement and unconditional positive regard and love.

      With teenagers it was an accident I knew how to handle them, and years before my own son reached that age. I was lucky to have had my oldest godson near me through his teen years and he was the one that told me how well I relate to teenagers. I had just did what came naturally after remembering how I felt at that age. I guess to me, that people don't understand that teenagers need more of a confidential, uncondtional place to go so they feel safe and not judged. They need a trusted and relaxed adult to discuss sex with. To know that no matter what their personal decesion is on something that the adult will help them make a responsible choice. That they will have protection for sex. Or they will have someone be honest about their own experience with drugs.

      If my son asks me a question now about my experiences I don't lie to him and I am truthful. If I am not how can I expect him to be and they can read that. They are smart and they will not trust you. There are definitely times it is necessary to break that teen's trust and go to their parents or to the officials. But that should be only if there is no other option. Their parents should be grateful that when the child couldn't come to them they went to someone.

      I hope more parents start taking this approach for my child has made an impact and so have I on other teenagers. We have shown them that its okay to make mistakes,, its okay to have to admit your faults. That popularity, drugs, sex are not the most important aspects of life. We have kept kids from doing things that they would regret later.

      I am glad that I am a friend in many ways to these kids...even though its exhausting:)

    • petenali profile image

      Pete 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      A very well written piece. Having worked in youth ministry for many, many years, I have concluded that the crux of it all is that teens want to know that adults in the lives care about what they are feeling. That we desire the best for them. That they are loved. If not, they seek that love in all the wrong places, or they seek whatever numbs the feelings of not being loved.

      Your hub outlines in great detail the pressures that teens face today. All of these pressures CAN be handled however if the teenager has self esteem and knows they are accepted and loved for who they are.

      Voted up.

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    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
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    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
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