Topic Ideas

The following databases provide an alphabetical list of topic ideas as a brainstorming resource. Additionally, Sirs Issues Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints allows the student to view and select articles from different points of view on the topic.

Topic to Consider

Abortion - Parental Consent

  • ARTICLE: "Abortion: Parental Consent." Current Issues: Macmillan Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.
    CONSIDER THE ISSUE (quotes from article): "Thirty-four states require some form of parental involvement in a minor's decision to have an abortion. " (Abortion: Parental Consent)
    VIEW: "Proponents of parental involvement laws claim that more pregnant teenagers would choose childbirth and possibly adoption over abortion if they had the benefit of their parents' guidance." (Abortion: Parental Consent)
    ISSUE: The clearest documented impact of parental involvement laws is an increase in the number of minors traveling outside their home states to obtain abortion services in states that do not mandate parental involvement or that have less restrictive laws." (Abortion: Parental Consent)
  • ARTICLE: American Medical Association. "CEJA Report H – A-92: Mandatory Parental Consent to Abortion." AMA, n.d. Web. http://www.ama-assn.org//ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion2015.page

Alcohol & Teenagers

Cell Phones in School

  • ARTICLE: Birnbaum, Michael. "Turn Off the Cell and Tune In." Washington Post (Washington, DC). 19 Jun 2010: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 06 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THIS: Should cell phones be allowed in school?"That silent, studious classroom? Looks can deceive....There is an epidemic of under-the-desk text messages during class, a virtual economy of exam pictures posted to Facebook, a trade in school fight videos on YouTube...School systems across the country have had to balance the demands of students and parents, many of whom like being able to stay in contact during the day, with concerns from teachers, who say cellphones' expanding capabilities go hand-in-hand with expanded opportunities for distraction and trouble." (Turn off the Cell...)

Border Wall-Border Crossing

Bullying & Cyberbullying

  • ARTICLE: Meyerson, Michael. "Protect Kids--and Speech." Baltimore Sun. 21 Apr 2013: A.29. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Nov 2013.
    ARTICLE SUMMARY: "Cellphones and the Internet have not only altered the way we communicate, they have changed the way we can injure one another. The telecommunications revolution has created the capability of causing far greater harm to children than the bullying many of us remember from when we were young. The omnipresent nature of the Internet means that there is no place for the child who is victimized to hide. Not even one's home is a safe haven when repeated, vicious attacks appear on Facebook and Twitter." (Baltimore Sun) The author of this article argues that balanced cyberbullying legislation that protects both youth and free speech should be passed in Maryland." (Protect Kids---and Speech)

  • ARTICLE: Toppo, Greg. "Bullies As Criminals." USA TODAY. 13 Jun 2012: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THE ISSUE: This article deals with bullies and an example of a student who was gay and bullied to the point of suicide.
    "After Kenneth Weishuhn told classmates at his Iowa high school last winter that he was gay, his family says anonymous voice-mail threats began popping up on his cellphone. At school, some of his fellow students yelled anti-gay slurs, and the harassment got so bad that teachers at South O'Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa, began standing guard in hallways." ("Bullies are Criminals")

  • ARTICLE: Flaherty, Anne. "Poll: Youth Online Abuse Falling but Prevalent." Florida Times-Union. 24 Oct 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THE ISSUE: "A poll...found incidents of 'digital abuse' are still prevalent but declining somewhat. It found a growing awareness among teenagers and young adults about harm from online meanness and cyberbullying, as well as a slight increase among those willing to tell a parent or sibling." (Florida Times-Union) The polls' findings on cyberbullying and online abuse are highlighted." (Poll: Youth Online)
  • CNN NEWS VIDEO: Grinberg, Emanuella. When Friends Become Bullies. CNN. 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 3 Nov 2013.
  • BLOG. Losergurl. 9 Oct. 2013. Blog. 3 Nov. 2013. http://losergurl.com/

Child Abuse

"Approximately three children die each day of abuse or neglect in the United States."

  • ARTICLE: Hall, Peter. "Paterno's Wife, Sons Speak Out on Child Abuse." Morning Call. 11 Apr 2013: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 05 Nov 2013. "
    CONSIDER THIS: "Joe Paterno's widow and sons said their family's ignorance about child sexual predators in the face of the Jerry Sandusky scandal highlights the value of fostering a culture of vigilance against abuse. 'Why were we so unaware? Why didn't we see signs and why did we never talk about child abuse..." (Paterno's Wife, Sons Speak Out...)

  • ARTICLE: "Man Recalls Horrors Of Florida Reform School." All Things Considered 21 Aug. 2013. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. (You can listen to this NPR Interview of the author of The White House Boys.)
  • NEWS REPORT: Mother of cyberbully arrested for child abuse posted on Facebook. CNN REPORT

Digital Consequences

Think before you ..... Technology requires DIGITAL RESPONSIBILITY!

Border Wars

  • ARTICLE: Danelo, David J. "The Border War." Proceedings Vol. 134 No. 10. Oct 2008: 48-52. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 06 Nov 2013.

CONSIDER THIS: The wall along the border, the trafficking of drugs across the Mexican and U.S. border.

Eating Disorders

Does society's promotion of a thin body as the ideal female form contribute to anorexia?
  • ARTICLE: Laurance, Jeremy. "Hundreds of Websites Urging Girls to 'Starve for Perfection'." The Independent. 28 Nov 2012: 16. SIRS Issues Researcher.Web. 06 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THIS: "Teenage girls are becoming involved in dangerous games of competitive dieting thanks to the proliferation of pro-anorexia websites. Between 400 and 500 websites promoting anorexia and related eating disorders, which are visited by thousands of young girls each day, have been identified in the first review to quantify the phenomenon." (The Independent) This article discusses the threats posed to young girls by websites encouraging eating disorders. ("Hundreds of Websites Urging Girls to 'Starve to Perfection').


Health Issues - Minors

  • ARTICLE: American Medical Association. "Mandatory Parental Consent to Abortion". http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/ethics/ceja_ha92.pdf
    CONSIDER THIS: Do you think minors should be able to get medical help and treatment without parental consent?
  • ARTICLE: Goodwin, Kimberley, Et.al. "Protecting Adolescents’ Right to Seek Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases without Parental Consent: The Arizona Experience with Senate Bill 1309 [Commentary]." Public Health Reports, May-June 2012.Vol. 127. Web. http://www.publichealthreports.org/issueopen.cfm?articleID=2839
  • CONSIDER THIS: 25% of Americans ages 14-19 have STD's---if parental consent is required for treatment are teens less likely to seek help?

Homosexuality/Gay Issues

Illegal Immigration

Marketing & Glamorizing Violence

CONSIDER THIS: Are we marketing violence? Are we using music to glamorize gangs and violence?

Modern Slavery - Human Trafficking

Modern slavery is a serious problem today.
  • ARTICLE: Magnier, Mark, and Robyn Dixon. "Living in Modern-Day Chains." Los Angeles Times. 18 Oct 2013: A.3. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 31 Oct 2013.
  • ARTICLE: "Slavery, by various names, persists around the world. A survey seeks to shed light." (Los Angeles Times) This article details a report that uncovers the various forms of modern-day slavery taking place around the world today. "
  • VIDEO: Does Fair Trade help reduce the possibility of child labour / child slavery?

Online Virtual Classes

Are online classes as beneficial as face-to-face instruction in a traditional classroom?

Prisons, Privatization & Youth

An true story of corruption, injustice and "a routine and systematic form of child abuse" from the courtroom to the prison.

Racism & Prejudice

Florida's stand your ground laws and the Trayvon Martin shooting case and the issue of racism.

Black teenager says he was arrested just for buying an expensive belt.

Schools & Social Media

  • ARTICLE: Wood, Daniel B. "Cyberbullying: Should Schools Police Students' Social Media Accounts?." Christian Science Monitor. 17 Sep 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 08 Nov 2013.
    "The Glendale, Calif., school district hired a firm to monitor students' social media accounts and prevent cyberbullying. Critics say it could chill student speech and lead to unintended legal consequences." (Christian Science Monitor) This article discusses whether or not it is appropriate for school officials to help prevent cyberbullying by monitoring students' social media accounts.

School Day / Year Length

Should the time students spend is school each day be extended?

Social Networking

Toxic Stress

Sports & Intensity

Are sports programs for teenagers and kids too intense?
  • ARTICLE:Healy, Michelle. "1.35 Million Youths a Year Have Serious Sports Injuries." Gannett News Service. 05 Aug 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher.Web. 06 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THIS: "Occasional bumps and bruises are expected when kids play sports, but for more than 1.35 million children last year [2012] a sports-related injury was severe enough to send them to a hospital emergency department."

Statutory Rape

  • ARTICLE: "Statutory Rape." Gale Encyclopedia of American Law. Ed. Donna Batten. 3rd ed. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 366-367. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
  • ARTICLE: Yee, Vivian. "Statutory Rape, Twitter and a Generational Divide." New York Times. 05 Apr 2013: A.16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 08 Nov 2013.
    CONSIDER THIS: "Two 18-year-old high school football players had been arrested, accused of the statutory rape of two 13-year-old girls. Their friends then rallied to their defense, attacking the girls on Twitter. And so, when the Twitter posts brought national condemnation to this old mill town, the principal of Torrington High School decided it was time to appeal to her students' better natures." (New York Times) This article discusses a controversy in Torrington, Connecticut that involves statutory rape, Twitter, and youth culture.


Search these topics using the Leyden Libraries subscription databases: SIRS ISSUES or OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS. These databases will provide different points of view on major issues. Additionally, you can go to major news sources like CNN and search their website for video coverage on news related issues.
  • Drop Outs
  • Sports
  • Teen Attitudes (Expectant, ungrateful….)
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Ticket (Teen guys get unfairly ticketed)
  • School day extension
  • Terrorism
  • Teen profiling and ticketing
  • Truancy