Some teens actually use them to do good. In Maryland, a group of students turned a homework assignment into a video report on the problems at their school, and the result got them more than just an "A" for effort.
The video shows a school in desperate need of repair.
It started as an assignment in television class, when these kids were asked to do an investigative report. They turned it into an expose on their school.
"Every day, you walk around and see chipped tiles and stuff. Kids come to the school for sport games and wrestling matches and stuff and say, 'This is Mt. Hebron and it looks horrible!'" says student Ryan Tompkins. He and his friends, Chris Rodkey and Patrick Gilbert, made the video.
Tompkins says he loves his school and is proud of it.
And there is a lot to be proud of. Not only is the school one of the tops in the state academically, but their television program is incredibly innovative.
The video captures, in queasy detail, the school's rodent problem. Because they can't use pesticides, the school catches mice in traps.
Principal Veronica Bohn says, "It's not very pretty to see the mouse traps sitting around." She says she does not even want to be asked how many rats caught in the traps she has seen.
It's not that Mt. Hebron has a huge problem; just a lot of little ones that all add up. Still, it took the video for administrators to realize how bad the situation had become.
"Capturing all of the little things that are wrong into one video sort of made me realize that yes, our building is 40 years old, and yes, it probably does need a little bit more sprucing up than I was noticing myself," Bohn says.
She's not the only one who's paying attention. The students actually showed the video at a school board meeting.
The board was moved to action. Now, teachers talk over the sounds of repairmen.
And small changes, like a sewn stage curtain, show this little bit of investigative reporting paid off.
Along with the small fixes, the board hopes to eventually give the school nearly $20 million for big repairs and remodeling, But that won't happen until long after the students who made the video have graduated.