“Oh my goodness, that night was crazy! I had so much fun; next time we go out I want one of those belvedere martinis, the kind that girl Serena orders, you know Serena from Gossip Girl? Yeah I heard those are really GOOD!!”
All I could think of was “Oh my goodness, we are at Wal Mart and that girl was for sure under 21”. On the way home from Wal Mart Jaime Foxx’s hit single “Blame it on the Alcohol” shattered my ears as I realized how much media really has to do with teenage drinking and binge drinking. Television and music producers do not acknowledge how much influence they have on their audiences, and how young most of their audiences are. Teenagers are highly influential and unfortunately they are the eyes watching shows like Gossip Girls and Degrassi, and then listening to Ludacris’s “One more Drink” without taking a second to think about the dark side of drinking.
Unfortunately, late August and early September are not only the time for back to school. But to students, it calls for a prominent celebration, one year closer to adulthood or college or any other event worthy enough of a celebration complete with liquor and drugs, sometimes a reason is not even needed and of course we mustn’t forget new seasons of Gossip girl and Degrassi that coincidentally arise at the same time in the year. Which bring us to the problem with today’s media. It portrays drinking, which is negative in too much of a positive light. They show it as a glamorous and fun thing to do, however they forget to expose the negative effects, the way the alcohol slows down the brain, impairs judgement, and provides a possibility of psychological impairment and depression. All of this goes without mentioning that many times alcohol is the gateway substance. Once teenagers are comfortable with alcohol use they become susceptible to develop alcohol abuse, in addition becoming more likely try a number of damaging substances. Higheredcenter.org’s Daniel Ari Kapner informs us of some statistics that stem from underage drinking. Kapner informs us that “Every year nearly 600,000 students suffer nonfatal injuries” in addition to the “1,700 college students that die from alcohol-related causes and the 1,300 of these deaths involve drinking and driving” (Kapner, 2008). Which brings me to my biggest problem with today’s teenage drinking dilemma the justice that the offenders come face to face with, especially offenders that are in the limelight.
Linsday Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Khloe Kardashian, Charles Barkley, Amy Whinehouse, Shia LaBeouf, Heather Locklier Micha Barton, Pitbull and Mel Gibson are all drink and drive culprits, although they are not all are under 21,they are all on the display table and ready to be observed by America’s teenagers. These people known as figures of the media commit their crimes and do not a pay proper price for the crimes they commit. Most of the times they go to a few court dates, pay some fees, do a little bit of community service, maybe get an ankle bracelet and then they are set free, which give our children the wrong idea entirely. For Example Linsday Lohan, back in August of 2007 was involved in a car accident in which she was found to have a blood alcohol level of .13 in addition to having used cocaine driving while all of this (Schneider, 2007). She then went to rehab for some time was placed on house arrest and then her story slowly drifted away, she basically got a small slap on the wrist and kept on moving on her little way. Various celebrities and media figures affect our children more then they or we would ever imagine. By these celebrities simply receiving such an insignificant punishment Americas children are under the impression that nothing serious can happen to them, which is for sure not the case as we learned earlier not only can thing happen to them physically but they ruin their life in a blink of an eye once they are charged with a DUI or are in a car accident in which another persons life has been taken.
How can we make sure that our children are safe and are not in a situation as such, ever? Talk to your children, stay involved in their life, and know what is going on, whom their friends are, and what they do when they are together. What they watch and what is going on in their lives. And most important of it all is, if there is a situation in which you take notice that there is something going on with your child, do not ignore him/her, get help. Show her or him that you are their for them no matter what happens and that you as a family can work together, as a team, and get help as a team.
Schneider, K. (2007,August 6). Falling Apart. People Magazine.VOL.68 No.6 Retrieved September 25,2009, from, http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20061498,00.html
Bachman, J., O’Malley, P., Johnston, L., (1998) Alcohol Use Among Adolescence. VOL.68, No. 2 Retrieved October 8,2009 from,
Kapner, D.A., (2008, August) Alcohol and Other Drugs on Campus The Scope of the Problem. Retrieved October 5,2009 from http://www.higheredcenter.org/files/product/scope.pdf