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250+ Controversial Topics For Teenagers To Debate

These controversial topics for teenagers are designed to spark engaging conversations and cultivate critical thinking. This article delves into an assortment of both lighthearted and serious issues that resonate deeply with today’s youth, encompassing everything from funny debate topics and the impact of mobile phones to deeper dilemmas like religious education and national security.

Aimed at promoting discourse and cultivating informed opinions, we’ll navigate through topics that challenge the status quo, inspire strong emotions, and provoke thought.

Covering a broad spectrum – from the historical Lincoln-Douglas debates to current social media controversies, from summer vacations to student loans, and from the discussion on the potential existence of alien life to the ethics of human cloning, we’re about to embark on a journey that touches every facet of modern society.

So, whether you’re a student looking to hone your debate skills, an educator searching for thought-provoking subjects, a parent wishing to understand the concerns of the contemporary youth, or simply a curious mind eager to explore, this article promises to be an enlightening window into the debates, dilemmas, and decisions that today’s teenagers grapple with.

Prepare to challenge your preconceptions, broaden your perspective, and engage with the topics shaping the lives of the youth in our society.

What Are The Most Controversial Subjects?

What Are The Most Controversial Subjects

Here’s a list of some of the most controversial subjects that often spark heated debates:

  1. Abortion rights: The question of whether or not a woman should have the right to choose.
  2. Gun control: The extent to which firearms should be regulated by the state.
  3. Capital punishment (Death penalty): Whether it is ethically and legally acceptable.
  4. Immigration: Discussions around border control, national identity, and economic implications.
  5. Climate change and environmental policy: How and to what extent nations should combat global warming.
  6. Euthanasia/Assisted suicide: The morality and legality of aiding someone in ending their own life.
  7. LGBTQ+ rights: Issues like marriage equality, gender identity recognition, and discrimination protections.
  8. Religion in schools: The appropriateness and extent of religious expression in public schools.
  9. Animal rights and veganism: The treatment of animals for food, clothing, and scientific research.
  10. Vaccinations: Discussions around their safety, efficacy, and whether they should be mandatory.
  11. Racial equality: Systemic racism, affirmative action, and discrimination.
  12. Privacy vs. National security: Balancing the rights of individual privacy against the needs of national security, especially in the digital age.
  13. Healthcare: The degree to which healthcare should be provided by the state and who should pay for it.
  14. Education: School funding, standard testing, school choice, and college tuition.
  15. Wealth and income inequality: Discussions on minimum wage, taxation, and welfare programs.
  16. Genetic engineering: Cloning, CRISPR, designer babies, and GMOs.
  17. Artificial Intelligence and job automation: The impact of technology on employment and ethical concerns.
  18. Nuclear energy and nuclear weapons: Debates around their usage, safety, and proliferation.
  19. Free speech vs Hate speech: How to balance the right to freedom of expression with the need to prevent hate speech and protect vulnerable communities.
  20. Cancel Culture: To what extent does cancel culture contribute to accountability and social justice, and where does it cross the line into damaging free speech and fostering a culture of fear?
  21. Cybersecurity: In an increasingly digital world, how should governments and corporations balance the need for cybersecurity with individual privacy rights?
  22. Marijuana Legalization: Should marijuana be legalized for both medical and recreational use nationwide, considering both its potential health benefits and the possible implications for public health and safety?

What Makes a Topic Controversial and Emotive?

A topic becomes controversial and emotive when participants of a discussion have competing opinions and interests on the subject matter. They strongly disagree about various options, especially when it touches on sensitive issues like politics and religion.

Controversial Topics For Teenagers

Controversial Topics For Teenagers
  1. Violent video games lead to real-life violence.
  2. Human beings are solely responsible for climate change.
  3. Keeping animals in a zoo is as bad as keeping animals in cages.
  4. Gender-neutral bathrooms do not benefit females.
  5. Tap water is better than bottled water, yet the latter is commercialized to be better.
  6. Parental expectations on academic performance lead to anxiety and stress in teenagers.
  7. Celebrities have the greatest influence on the younger generation, creating a huge impact on teens’ behavior and lifestyles.
  8. Genetically modified foods are better and cheaper than organic foods that are in scarce supply.
  9. Drugs are part of society and have been part of human existence since time immemorial.
  10. Suicide cases are a result of more than mental illness and drug abuse; but also family and romantic relationships.
  11. Abortion should be legalized worldwide and made accessible for those willing to have it.
  12. Teens should wait to have sex until they turn 18.
  13. Sexual health should be taught as early as preschool.
  14. Cyberbullying is a leading cause of anxiety and depression in teens.
  15. Mental health is this generation’s struggle, yet it doesn’t get enough awareness.
  16. Technology will eventually be the solution to everything we do.
  17. Venturing into sports is better than being in the art and creative industry.
  18. Social media is more effective than mainstream media in marketing and brand promotions.

📢 Suggested reading: Coping Skills For Teens With Anxiety, Depression & Anger

Controversial Topics For High School Students

  1. Teens should be allowed to bring cell phones to class.
  2. It is better to be good at sports than to be good at exams.
  3. High school students are smarter than their parents.
  4. Teachers should be required to wear school uniforms.
  5. Private schools are better than public schools.
  6. Homeschooling is better and more effective than traditional learning systems.
  7. College education should not be mandatory.
  8. Peer pressure is a major problem among teens.
  9. Student loans are exploitative and expensive.
  10. Students need to learn at least one foreign language.
  11. Should religion be taught in schools as a compulsory subject?
  12. How should society handle teenage pregnancies?
  13. Is social media a leading cause of pressure among teens?
  14. Does the level of education directly translate to their financial independence in the future?
  15. Does social media affect how people relate socially in an interpersonal setting?
  16. Finance management should be taught in high school.
  17. How does social media affect teens’ mental health?
  18. Should schools have a dress code that everyone should follow?

Controversial Debate Topics For College Students

Controversial Debate Topics For College Students
  1. Do smartphones make life easier?
  2. Is personal data safe online?
  3. What is the best search engine, and what features make it the best?
  4. Adoption should be intensified as much as giving birth to own’s child.
  5. Are conflicts in school reason enough for mental illnesses among college students?
  6. How can the government provide better tax through the innovative taxation system?
  7. Education should be made free all across the world.
  8. Are there enough reasons to trust modern banks and their mobile banking apps?
  9. What is the best age for participating in elections?
  10. What are the top factors contributing to financial stability in this generation?
  11. Are there ways to connect science and religion?
  12. Solar energy has been growing in popularity; what are the benefits?
  13. Vaccination is crucial for all, regardless of the state or country.
  14. Should health insurance be made mandatory for everyone?
  15. What are the harmful effects of drinking?
  16. What are the possibilities and negative sides of social media?
  17. Music can be a useful treatment method for mental issues.
  18. What are the ways that people can protect intellectual property?
  19. Should the drinking age be lowered to 16?
  20. Is Social media important for the development of life skills?

Controversial Topics For Middle School

  1. Homework should not be part of the school curriculum.
  2. It is important to wear school uniforms for all school-going kids.
  3. Children should be paid to go to school.
  4. Teachers should have candy to give to students in class.
  5. Does homework directly contribute to excellent performance?
  6. What is better than the other? In-person teaching or online classes?
  7. Should children be allowed to contribute to the curriculum?
  8. Do you think robots will contribute to a better life in the future?
  9. With rampant climate change, can technology save it or destroy it further?
  10. Should reading books be part of the curriculum in every stage of learning?
  11. Boys have more fun in school than girls.
  12. Men are stronger than women.
  13. Unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food.

General Controversial Topics for Teens

General Controversial Topics for Teens
  1. The minimum wage should be increased and made standard in all states.
  2. The minimum age to qualify for work should be reduced to end teen unemployment.
  3. Teen suicide is a result of pressure from friends, family, and social media.
  4. Social media is becoming much more important than face-to-face communication.
  5. Posting negative comments on people’s pictures should be considered breaking the law.
  6. Eating disorders are rampant among teens.
  7. Are teens today more concerned about volunteering and helping others than teens in the past?
  8. Facial hair or not, which one is better?
  9. The hookup culture is messing up teens’ decisions in dating.
  10. Teenage friendships are bound to fail as life progresses.
  11. Video games have a more negative impact on teens than a positive one.
  12. Are athletes overpaid or underpaid?
  13. Do violent video games directly translate to violence in real life?
  14. Should rehabilitation centers for addicts be made free for all?
  15. Should children’s channels have ads running between programs?
  16. Animal export should be banned.

Funny Controversial Topics

  1. Having a smartphone is making you more stupid than smarter.
  2. School lunches should only be junk food.
  3. Being really tall is better than being really short.
  4. Humans are the most dangerous beings on the planet.
  5. Monday should be scrapped off the calendar.
  6. Is it better to lose both legs or arms or lose one of each?
  7. Would there be war if all world leaders were women?
  8. It is better to be rich and have no friends than to be poor with a hundred friends.
  9. A weekend should be made up of five days, and the week should have two days.
  10. Is the earth flat or round?
  11. The universe does not have a beginning or an end; it is infinite.
  12. What time does the time start?
  13. It should be illegal for men to wear skinny jeans.
  14. Pineapple belongs on pizza.
  15. Pizza should be cut into squares and not triangles.
  16. Long-distance relationships are as good as others.
  17. Should people kiss with closed eyes or open eyes?

Controversial Topics To Talk About

  1. Online dating is as good as the traditional one-on-one style of dating.
  2. Dancing is considered a real sport.
  3. Are movies better than books?
  4. Music gets better over time.
  5. Kids should keep secrets from their parents.
  6. Science should be optional in school.
  7. Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
  8. Students should not carry cell phones to school.
  9. Teens should not be allowed to get tattoos or piercings.
  10. What is better? Vaping or smoking?
  11. Sex education should be made mandatory from middle school.
  12. Teenagers should not take energy drinks.
  13. Do beauty pageants affect teens’ self-esteem and confidence?
  14. Hate speed should be considered illegal.
  15. Is immigration useful or harmful for the USA?
  16. Gun ownership laws should be stricter and more restrictive.
  17. Does the church do enough to protect teenage parents?
  18. Are all religions equal in their practices and teachings?
  19. Does television affect interpersonal relations in a family setup?
  20. Should parents use physical punishment as a form of discipline for their children?
  21. Long-distance relationships are doomed to fail.
  22. Governments around the world should prioritize their investments in green energy.

Controversial Debate Topics

Controversial Debate Topics
  1. Do monogamous relationships come naturally?
  2. Does the government have the right to take children away from their parents?
  3. Online dating; is it a net negative or a net positive?
  4. Should couples share bank accounts?
  5. Do men and women have different responsibilities and roles in relationships?
  6. What is better? Meeting someone in real life or on a dating app?
  7. Is obesity directly linked to mental struggles or illnesses?
  8. Are relationships where people live together better than those where couples live apart?
  9. What is more detrimental, physical illness or mental illness?
  10. Should people eat at dedicated times or only when they feel hungry?
  11. Cats are better than dogs.
  12. Testing products on animals should be banned.
  13. Birth control should be easily accessible for everyone and given for free.
  14. Alcohol should only be sold at specific hours.
  15. The government should provide free housing and amenities for the homeless.
  16. Global warming is one of the greatest challenges the world is facing right now.
  17. The world is depending on technology too much.
  18. University education should be free and accessible to everyone.
  19. Is space exploration a waste of money?

Controversial Topics To Write About

  1. Why do professional athletes use steroids to increase performance?
  2. Standardizes tests for school teachers.
  3. How can the education system be modified to suit everyone?
  4. What are the pros and cons of automated cars?
  5. Top ways to protect nature.
  6. Virtual reality and its effect on people.
  7. The advanced influence of social media among teens and kids.
  8. Why psychology should be made mandatory in college.
  9. The importance of history for the modern generation.
  10. The pros and cons of social networking.
  11. The effects of fast food accessibility in teens.
  12. Is the religion concept outdated?
  13. Why is there an increased obsession with brands?
  14. With the emergence of various diets, which one is the best and why?
  15. What makes up a healthy lifestyle?
  16. What is the best age to get married?
  17. Wildfires; strategies that should be implemented to prevent them.
  18. Teenage abortions; should they be legalized?
  19. Governments should direct more funds toward national parks

Controversial Fun Topics

  1. Which is the best movie in history?
  2. The phenomenon of modern pranks is taking over the internet.
  3. Music is more spiritual than it is entertainment.
  4. Pizza toppings; which ones are the best?
  5. Rock and pop music; which one tops the list?
  6. Books are better entertainment than television.
  7. Chocolate and vanilla ice cream; which one is the best?
  8. Companies collect too much information about their employees.
  9. Aliens still live among us.
  10. Teens should be allowed to work after school.
  11. People spend so much time on social media.
  12. Art is not an important subject in schools.
  13. Living forever would be terrible; we all should die.
  14. Staying home is better and more fun than going out.
  15. Summer weather is better than winter weather.
  16. It is better to be good-looking than be smart; discuss.

🤓 You might also be interested in reading School Pranks: The Best Pranks to Play in a Classroom!

Current Controversial Topics

Current Controversial Topics
  1. Everyone should adopt the vegan lifestyle and contribute to saving the world.
  2. University education should be made free for all.
  3. Genetically modified foods should be banned.
  4. Taxes should go up as earnings go up to bridge the poor-rich gap.
  5. The government should provide free healthcare for all.
  6. Vaccines are unnecessary; more focus should be directed to the food we eat.
  7. Transgender rights should be inclusive and equal for everyone.
  8. Abortion should be made legal in all parts of the world.
  9. Cancel culture should be abolished.
  10. Student debt crisis; ways to make student loans bearable.
  11. Global climate change is solely on human beings and their practices.
  12. Marijuana should be legalized all over the world.
  13. Couples should have equal roles and responsibilities in marriage.
  14. Social media should be regulated, being a leading cause of mental health issues.
  15. Marijuana should be used for medical purposes.
  16. The delivery of contraceptive services should be normalized worldwide.

📢 Suggested reading: Helping Your Teenager Find Their Passion

Interesting Controversial Topics

  1. A college degree is crucial for securing a good job in today’s world.
  2. Boarding school is more harmful to students than it is helpful.
  3. Churches and other religious institutions should pay taxes.
  4. Companies should be required to hire an equal number of men and women for equality.
  5. Vaccination should be mandatory.
  6. All citizens should be required to vote.
  7. Drug use should be treated as a mental health problem, not a criminal offense.
  8. Freedom of speech is necessary for a functional society.
  9. Politics should not be discussed in schools.
  10. Zoos and animal parks should be banned.
  11. Is tourism beneficial to the environment?
  12. Organic farming is the future of agriculture.
  13. All cars should be electric.
  14. All children under ten should not be exposed to technology.
  15. Reality television has a huge negative impact on society.
  16. Blockchain technology will take over the future.
  17. Renewable energy will completely replace fossil fuels.
  18. Current curriculums are a major concern for teenagers.

📢 Suggested reading: The Pros And Cons Of Snapchat For Teens & Tweens

Controversial Funny Questions

  1. What is the best type of cheese?
  2. How would you sum up the internet in one sentence?
  3. What was considered trashy but is not classy?
  4. What would be the worst thing that the government would make legal?
  5. If you were to ‘buy one get one free,’ what would you buy?
  6. What sport would be the funniest to add alcohol as part of it?
  7. What are some of the interesting ways that countries going through war could implement to solve their differences?
  8. What would the world be like if we were all females or males?
  9. What is popular now but will be completely useless in five years?
  10. If you would change anything about the current government, what would that be?
  11. What do you think will finally break the internet?
  12. What quote do people say a lot but is completely useless?
  13. Can a hotdog be considered a sandwich?
  14. Should toilet paper be put under or over?

🤓 Suggested reading: Senior High School Pranks: Unleashing Hilarious Havoc

Easy Controversial Topics

  1. All children should wear school uniforms.
  2. Most parents are strict.
  3. People should never date their colleagues at work.
  4. Thin-crust pizza is better than thick-crust pizza.
  5. Reading physical books is better than reading ebooks.
  6. Flying is the best superpower humans should have.
  7. December is the best month of the year.
  8. Would it be terrible to know what people are thinking all the time?
  9. Smoking in public should be made illegal.
  10. Between a gorilla and a bear, who would win a fight?
  11. Does time really exist?
  12. Cats and dogs; which ones are better pets?
  13. Money cannot buy happiness, yet it makes you happy.
  14. People should be required to live together before they get married to reduce divorce rates.
  15. Cheating in exams is acceptable.
  16. Economic anxiety is one of the major negative trends in mental health.
  17. Music in schools contributes to the art industry.
  18. More women should run for public office and help bridge the gap between men and women in power.
  19. Do social media influencers portray real-life situations?

Silly Controversial Topics

  1. Age is just a number in romantic relationships.
  2. Men are more intelligent than women.
  3. Beautiful girls and handsome boys perform poorly in class.
  4. Everyone should sleep naked; it is better and more enjoyable.
  5. Teachers should have the same type of uniforms as students.
  6. When a lady smiles back at you, it means they like you.
  7. The best way to kiss someone is with your eyes wide open.
  8. Earth is flat.
  9. With social media, people without any specific skills get rich very fast.
  10. Humans should be able to communicate with aliens.
  11. Jewelry makes girls more attractive.
  12. Women should marry younger men.
  13. Men are more complicated than women.
  14. Introverts are likely to be more successful than extroverts.
  15. Humans should live to eat and not eat to live.

Non-Political Controversial Topics

Non-Political Controversial Topics
  1. Public prayer should not be allowed in schools.
  2. All schools should be made private.
  3. Health insurance should cover cosmetic procedures.
  4. The sale of human organs should be legalized worldwide.
  5. Vaping should be banned.
  6. All people should become vegetarians.
  7. Human communication has improved with social media.
  8. Governments should prioritize alternative sources of energy.
  9. Plastic bags should be banned worldwide.
  10. Females should be encouraged to take up STEM courses.
  11. Schools should teach about LGBT+.
  12. Peer pressure is beneficial to development.
  13. Instagram influencers should be regulated to control what they share online.
  14. The sale of fur should be banned to protect animals.
  15. Are social media influencers bad role models?
  16. Nuclear energy is safe and should be prioritized as a major source of energy.
  17. Should genetic engineering be encouraged?
Popular Controversial Topics
  1. Black lives matter.
  2. Human trafficking.
  3. Russian-Ukrainian war.
  4. Transgender rights.
  5. Gun control laws.
  6. Prescription drug addiction.
  7. Vaccination mandates.
  8. Immigration control.
  9. Health insurance.
  10. Cybersecurity.
  11. Early voting.
  12. COVID restrictions.
  13. Police reform.
  14. Cyberbullying and hate speech.
  15. White privilege.
  16. Genetically modified food vs. organic food.
  17. Women’s rights and equality.
  18. Cryptocurrency.

Unique Controversial Topics

  1. Is surrogacy ethical?
  2. Do genetics have a role to play in alcoholism?
  3. Should bullfighting be banned worldwide?
  4. What is the psychological factor of people hesitating to take vaccines?
  5. What is the purpose of cyberstalking?
  6. Should meat be part of a healthy diet?
  7. What are the consequences of weather modification?
  8. Is the pro-life movement misunderstood?
  9. What are the ways religion influences domestic violence today?
  10. Should some topics be censored on social media?
  11. Is there anything wrong with organic food?
  12. Hypnotherapy; what are the benefits?

📢 Suggested reading: Why Are My Parents So Unfair? Real Or Perceived Favoritism

Simple Controversial Questions

  1. Does all education need to be done online as opposed to the traditional way of teaching?
  2. Should healthcare be universal for everyone to access it from anywhere?
  3. Should companies monitor their employee’s social media accounts?
  4. Are there reasons to justify animal testing?
  5. What are the ways blockchain technology is damaging the environment?
  6. Are people so diverse that they cannot be classified?
  7. Should everyone seek therapy as part of their health routines?
  8. Is being selfish good or bad in today’s society?
  9. Is success all about staying motivated and overcoming stress?
  10. Are people living in big cities happier than those living upcountry?
  11. Do drones violate the rights of landowners?
  12. Is living healthier, that is, exercising, eating right, and taking care of mental health, expensive?
  13. Has self-care been commercialized and explained to mean what it is not?
  14. Should guardians limit the amount of sugar their children consume?
  15. Do you think psychological conditions are overdiagnosed and made to mean what they are not?
Controversial Topics For High School Students

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this comprehensive article, “Controversial Topics for Teenagers,” has truly journeyed through a vast array of contentious issues that are part of our daily life in modern society, many of which can stir up strong emotions, elicit stronger opinions, and ignite fervor for debate, especially among the youth.

From funny debate topics such as “Chocolate ice cream vs Vanilla” to more serious subjects like religious education in schools, it is clear that each issue holds the potential for fostering critical thinking skills. Whether it’s about cell phones in class or the potential danger of cell phone radiation, these issues prompt us to examine the quality of life we experience in an age where mobile phones have become a central part of our lives.

We’ve addressed the benefits and detriments of summer and winter vacations, presenting arguments that may reshape how we perceive our daily leisure time. We’ve grappled with the implications of religious symbols in religious schools, which could stir controversy within the realms of national security and freedom of expression.

The Supreme Court has seen many a Lincoln-Douglas debate, and these formative discussions have had profound implications on political issues like voting rights and the criminalization of youth. Debates about college athletes’ rights, the potential exploitation through student loans, and whether online education holds up to traditional schooling all speak to the challenges that teenagers may face as they transition into adulthood.

The potential reality of designer babies, the ethics of human cloning, and the mysteries of alien life are sure to ignite discussions about the future, where science and ethics collide. These topics tie into other current events such as discussions on nuclear weapons, renewable energy sources, and national security.

Interestingly, debates in school, whether they follow the Oregon-Oxford Debate format or the Rebuttal Debate format, provide a platform for students to engage with these topics. These debates, whether formal or informal, help in refining debate skills and, in turn, encourage teenagers to develop their opinions on controversial issues.

From the discussion on corporal punishment to debates on female athletes’ rights and opportunities, we’ve noted the social implications of these debates. They reflect the deep-seated gender biases in our society and their effects on the quality of life of teenagers, especially female youth.

Moreover, with social media sites becoming increasingly popular, they serve as platforms where teenagers can discuss these issues and share their thoughts. This reinforces the need for parental supervision and education about online safety.

Ultimately, this article seeks to encourage teenagers to engage in debates and express their controversial opinions. It serves as a dialog window into the heart of these issues and, at the same time, a modal window into the minds of teenagers as they navigate through these complex topics. It’s a common trap to underestimate the power of youth in shaping our American society; let’s remember that today’s teenager is tomorrow’s political leader, Supreme Court judge, or influential essay writer.

Whether the issue at hand is as light-hearted as a beauty contest or as serious as automatic weapons, this article hopes to inspire thoughtful, respectful, and passionate debate among teenagers, building a foundation for the critical thinkers of tomorrow.