The mall has become the major hangout for teenagers

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The mall has become the major hangout for teenagers

Teens 'chill,' learn at malls Adolescence: Hanging out at shopping centers has become a rite of passage in which youths gain information and independence. Decked out in new duds from head to toe, the 6-foot, teen-age cousins made the scene with scads of gift cash and a keen eye for the girls.

I like to chill," said Joe Teague, 15, of Dundalk. Piped in his year-old cousin, Matt High of Chase, "I'm bored. There was nothing to do at home.

It's an adolescent rite of passage, once confined to burger-and-shake drive-ins and the matinee. In the town-square atmosphere of today's malls, social experts and merchants say, teen-agers have become the typical citizens who show up regularly after school each day and on weekends.

There is nowhere else to go and hang out.

The mall has become the major hangout for teenagers

They are trying to be independent and get a lot of information from each other and a lot of information from just watching. That's very important developmentally, and the mall is just perfect for that. Then they could build gathering places and attractions geared toward teen-agers. Walker said most of her students spend their free time cruising around in White Marsh Mall -- or working there.

Christopher Schardt, general manager of Towson Town Center, said malls have become a social gathering place for all ages because they are climate controlled, have a variety of stores and restaurants and are centrally located.

And for teen-agers, he said, the mall serves as a classroom of sorts as well as a hangout. At Golden Ring, teen-age customers can play at a virtual reality theme park -- Starport, which opened less than a month ago and which the mall's management says is one of only four such attractions in the United States.

This place has games and videos and offers something to do.My father was a high-ranking student radical poobah and still thinks Castro was the bees' knees. Although I'm technically a red diaper baby, I've rejected all that baloney. I live in a wonderful small city in central Virginia and on nice and not-so-nice days there is a walking mall that has become the major hangout of teens of all stripes.

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