16 debates for teenagers (to argue in class or at a get-together)
We propose several topics to debate with young people, both in class and in informal contexts.
Debating is healthy. It is an activity that allows us to think and look for arguments and counterarguments that allow us to defend our ideas, or modify them if others seem better.
And not always those with which we agree: it is possible to debate trying to defend an opposing idea in such a way that we understand its arguments and weak points. This activity can also be very suitable for teenagers, since among other things it favors their capacity for reflection.
Throughout this article we are going to look at some possible topics for debates for teenagersin order to give ideas in this regard.
- We recommend: "24 debate topics to present in class discussions".
What is a debate?
Before going on to evaluate some examples of topics to be dealt with in debates among adolescents, it is worthwhile to review what exactly it is that we want to generate.
We understand debate as a situation or communicative technique in which two or more subjects express, share and even confront each other with their opinions and perspectives on a given, usually controversial, topic. and perspectives on a given topic, usually controversial.
It is an act that aims to contrast different opinions and perspectives in a fluid manner, expressing positions that may either resemble or oppose each other, although they always tend to diverge from each other. The aim is for each of the parties to generate arguments in order to defend their position.
Why is it good to debate?
It is an exercise that allows each of the different parties to visualize positions different from their own and to see their own arguments countered, something that can allow for the modification of their own position or a deeper reflection or argumentation regarding the subject matter.
In addition, it helps to exercise executive functions, cognitive abilities in general (e.g. reasoning, reflection and planning) and the ability to understand and anticipate the reactions and value the opinion of others. It also helps to foster the ability to defend one's own position, as well as to be tolerant and critical of one's own position as well as that of others.
That is why debating is an enriching and useful activity at all times of life, such as during adolescence.as for example in adolescence. At a time when the most complex mental capacities begin to flourish and develop, it can be useful to train them and help strengthen them.
Discussions for adolescents: some topics to be addressed
There are many topics that can be of interest to discuss with adolescents, as it helps them to reflect on aspects they do not usually think about or express their point of view.
Among them, we can find the following proposals.
What is love? What is a couple relationship?Is there only one way of living it?
All these questions can be the subject of debate and are of great interest to adolescents.
It also allows to visualize aspects such as the not-so-new family models (same-parent families, single-parent families, adoption, reconstituted families...), to talk about areas such as sex and/or to dismantle myths widespread among young people.
- Recommended: "The 14 types of couple: what is your sentimental relationship like?"
2. Drugs, drug use and addictions.
Drug use is one of the most frequent problems among young people.The debate on what drugs are, their effects and risks, the problems they generate and the concept of addiction, as well as the social vision of both consumption and addiction from the adolescent and adult world, are the subject of debate.
It can help to form an idea closer to reality or debunk myths and distorted beliefs, especially if you have previously sought information or even interviews with professionals or people who have overcome dependence.
- Recommended: "Substance use in adolescence: risk factors".
Another of the major concerns of most of the population, and especially of young people, is their future employment.. Discussing the labor market, its demands and professional development based on academic training can be a useful and enriching topic for debate.
The reverse side of the previous point, the lack of employment, is also a topic of debate to be taken into account.. What this concept implies, possible ways to reduce it, the difficulties in finding a job or the discussion of possible ways to make a living are some of the elements that can be dealt with.
5. Gender-based violence
Another of the hottest and most relevant topics to be discussed in the classroom is gender-based violence, what it implies, what it means, what it does not mean, and what it does not mean.What it implies, what should not be accepted in a healthy relationship and what measures should be taken in the case of being a victim or witness of a case (possible protection measures or social resources to turn to) can help prevent possible cases and even save lives.
6. Internet and social networks: benefits and risks
The Internet and social networks are undoubtedly a very useful tool and nowadays can be found anywhere and in any situation, something which, however, also puts young people at great risk.
Discussing the risks of networks and aspects such as privacy, the risk of grooming and sexual harassment, cyberbullying, the publication of data that should remain private or even the possible consequencesThe risk of grooming and sexual harassment, cyberbullying, the publication of data that should remain private or even possible consequences such as those derived from the search for information by potential employers is necessary to reflect on our behavior on the networks.
7. Environment and pollution
An increasingly relevant social problem that is sometimes poorly understood by young people is that of pollution and the importance and responsibility of taking care of the environment..
Discussing the state of the environment, recycling, caring for the environment or correcting highly harmful patterns of behavior that we hardly notice in our daily lives could be very useful.
- Recommended: "The 10 types of pollution (and effects on the ecosystem)".
8. Equal rights and discrimination
Another topic that may be useful to discuss is that of equality and the different discriminations that still exist in our society. and the different forms of discrimination that continue to exist in our society.
The concept of equality and reflecting on whether there is discrimination based on aspects such as sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, physical or mental health or even political opinion in areas such as work or sexual relations is enriching and can make us see different ways of seeking equal rights.
9. Physical, mental and social development
Adolescents are in a process of change that can be highly disturbing and difficult to understand, both physically and socially.They can be physically, mentally and socially challenging to understand.
Changes in the body, the development of new mental capacities and changes in relationships with peers and adults, in addition to the expectations that society begins to have on them, can serve to assess their beliefs and sensations.
10. Mental health
Another area for discussion may be the maintenance of health or the existence of different diseases and mental disorders. and mental disorders.
It can be debated to discuss what is called mental health, what is involved in having a mental illness, the perception of those who suffer from it and ways of dealing with discrimination.
11. Sexual health
A taboo subject that is nonetheless important to discuss is sexual health and education, especially since sexual health education may be a very difficult subject to discuss.especially taking into account that it is possible that the first relationships take place at this age (in addition to the fact that in recent times there has been an increase in some sexually transmitted infections).
The risks of transmission of the different STIs, their symptoms and the need to use prophylaxis (as well as discussion of the excuses that are often used for not using them and how to deal with them) both for this purpose and to avoid unwanted pregnancies is highly necessary. Myths or at best ineffective methods should also be discussed.
A very relevant topic for adolescents is their image, both physical and social.. It is at this age that eating problems often begin to appear, something that should be prevented.
We can also discuss the importance given to image, the pursuit of a positive appearance for the gallery, the publication of photos on the networks ....
13. School bullying
Bullying is a particularly frequent problem during childhood and adolescence.The following should be discussed: what it means, the effects on the bullied, the need to stop it and to stop the bully, the consequences and reflection on the Pain it causes and the possible ways to solve this problem.
14. Human rights
A social issue to be discussed is that of human rights.. What they are, why they are important, whether or not they are fulfilled in our society and how to ensure their fulfillment for all human beings.
15. Animal rights
A final topic for reflection and debate may be animal rights.. Discussing how other non-human animals should be treated, whether their rights are officialized and how regulations should be applied to guarantee them can help to improve the treatment of other non-human creatures and to empathize with them.
16. Media in the internet age
It is a good way to consider what access to information should be like in the 21st century.Do we need large corporations to fill up content racks? Or does it make more sense to be active viewers who go to search for specific content on platforms such as YouTube? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both formats? Can we aspire to be better informed, or will we always be hostage to the economic interests of those who inform us?
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)