The rapid change of the society has placed parents in a very difficult situation. Primarily, most of the kids have tried to place themselves at the level of the adults, arguing that they too have a right to do whatever the adults do. Out of ignorance, they don’t know the risks they face doing some of the things the adults do. Most of the teenagers have engaged themselves to underage drinking underestimating the various risks they face later on in life. This is a concern to many parents who try to talk to their children but they only find their children rebellious if such a topic is brought forth.
This paper will keenly observe the various aspects of underage drinking with a key of trying to enhance the fight against underage drinking as a result of its adverse effects. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a close estimation is given that about 5000 youths who are below 21 years die as a result of alcohol abuse. Most of these incidences which are directly related to alcohol abuse are such as motor vehicle accidents, injurious acts out of alcoholism, homicide and even suicide. Some of these incidences ought not to happen especially to the tender aged Americans. These statistics shows the intensity of this societal problem. These statistics shows the deaths related to alcohol abuse only, so what about the many other effects as a result of prolonged usage such as liver cirrhosis?
A survey conducted, namely, Monitoring the Future, indicated that about three fourths of 12th graders, two thirds of 10th graders and even two fifths of 8th graders have consumed alcohol. (NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE)
These statistics also note that 11 per cent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, and 29 percent of 12th graders abused alcohol heavily. It was noted that most of the teenagers consume alcohol heavily, drinking four to five bottles at a time. An analysis of this data translates to a deadly time bomb waiting to blow in a near future if no proper actions are taken any time soon. And so where lies the future? The future will get blur and ultimate nothing at the cost of pleasure and entertainment. (NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE)
To understand a problem, it is important to have an observation of the root cause. Therefore, it is important to analyze why many youths who are under 21 years abuse alcohol. As analyzed by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism various reasons are illustrated as some of the many reasons that put these youths in situations that they have to consume alcohol.
In the study of biology, teenage is a very important stage of human development that entails secretion of various hormones in the body that bring about massive change to the system functioning of the body. These hormones don’t only affect the physiological segment only but also the psychological aspect of a human being. During this important stage, teenagers tend to be risk takers. Risk taking can be attributed to the continuous development of the brain trying to communicate with new connections and as a result refining its functioning. Teenagers are always seeking things that will thrill them, entertain them and ultimately make them feel ‘good’. They therefore find the ‘treasure’ in alcohol. What they do not realize is that they are trading their lives for death with no indemnity for a good future.
As a result of the courage to take risks, many of the teenagers don’t realize the dangers of alcohol later on in life. They are so blinded by their courage to even see those that don’t consume it are just but mere cowards who are not yet initiated to the system.
As a result of psychological development, many of the teenagers have a positive attitude towards alcohol. However, during their earlier years, for instance when they were in their earlier in their elementary school, they viewed alcohol in a very negative manner. Children will actually complain of their dad’s intoxicated behavior. Most of the fathers get aggressive once they are drunk. Children on the other hand will always get scared of him. This will make them to some extent even fear alcohol. The Sunday school teachings always prohibit such behaviors. But with time, these perceptions change from negative to positive. At some point of view, it may be explained that teenagers change their perception on alcohol as a result of much exposure to a world that have embraced alcohol in a very tight manner.
At this juncture, there are some of the agents that make many teenagers feel that consuming alcohol is ‘cool’. Some of these agents include the ever improving information technology. The internet has played its major role in increasing the number of teenagers consuming alcohol. The internet has been used by the marketers, which is a convenient platform to reach millions and millions of people. Marketers don’t understand that some of these advertisements end up landing on the wrong people, especially the teenagers. Most of the teenagers are so much addicted to the internet; they have the skills to surf on the net from one website to another.
The media in addition has too played its part. There are ads placed on television in all available channels. Most of these advertisements are skillfully thought of such that they make the view to have the urge to have one of the drinks. The emotions that these advertisements bring may be had for the teenagers to take unlike the adults who many of them are conscious of what they are doing. Most of the teenagers will feel like they should try using the alcohol.
The entertainment industry has greatly influenced this attitude. The movies that are directly targeted to the teenagers entail a chain of parties. And parties are not just parties without alcohol. These movies portray negative or even vicious scenes that are related to alcohol. Drunken teenagers engage in unprotected sex which is usually the finality of partying. Basically, on my opinion, I don’t usually get the artistic theme in such kind of movies. Their plot is just but an integration of pieces of scenes of teenagers who are alcoholically driven to indulge in immoral collection of activities. These movies present even how young teenagers who don’t consume alcohol are discriminated by others. They are however invited for a party. At the party, they are initiated to alcoholism by just a few number of words, ‘just try a little of this’. The little becomes more and more and the teenager sinks into alcoholism. The good person is no more there.
A huge portion of these teenagers is being absorbed into alcoholism out of peer influence. This has played a major role in general drug abuse. This has always been a societal phenomenon how peers are able to influence their colleagues to engage them in what they are doing. Most of the friends introduce their peers to alcoholism leaving them the burden to fight the consequences.
Peer influence has at times been of benefit when friends and especially teenagers engage in constructive activities such as discussion groups or other academic activities that requires the social cooperation. Peer influence greatly affects the teenagers. As a result of different hormones being produced in the body, teenagers tend to be very emotional. Teenagers are easily frustrated by others and so their only option is to join their friends and do what they are doing.
This societal issue has landed a great blow on many of the parents who discourage their children with engaging some of their friends who have unethical behaviors. Teenagers are at many times in a conflict with their parents and always seek advice and sympathy from their friends. This bond of friends seems to be unbreakable. But this bond may be explained that it exists due to the same line and level of understanding and interests. Teenage friends will not disagree on consuming alcohol. And therefore, this type of mentality makes the teenagers believe that friends are for them while parents are against them.
The societal comprehensively, has contributed to underage consumption of alcohol. Starting from the nuclear social institution, which is the family. The modern family has had a problem. This has been the case as a result of capitalism or in a more expository term, the desire to seek for economic success at the expense of their social welfare. People have become so engaged to the corporate world or to other business commitments that they even don’t have time for their families. As Karl Marx termed it, alienation was a problem to the society as they indulged all their lives to their work. This has led to many of the children lack direction in terms of guidance.
Many of the parents don’t offer much advice to their children. This task has been left for the teachers to work on it. Most of the parents once at home are either too tired or stressed that they want their own time alone. This would be the best time for that parent to give guidance to his child.
Having looked at the various issues that may contribute to underage drinking, it is also of importance to check at the various risks a teenage may encounter due to underage alcohol consumption. One of the very dangerous implications of heavy alcohol consumption is liver cirrhosis. Liver is a very important body organs which has roles such as controlling infections, processing nutrients and even producing bile that is used in the digestive system. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, continuous heavy consumption of alcohol may lead to liver cirrhosis. Early alcohol consumption may mean that most of these teenagers by the age of 50-60 years may have this chronic liver condition. This poses a challenge to many of us who are interested in seeing a brighter generation as most of the teenagers consume large amounts of alcohol.
There are also other social implications that as a direct result of underage drinking. Teenagers who engage in alcohol consumption risk settling for a blurred vision. These teenagers see no need for tomorrow and so they will drink like they will not see a tomorrow. If this attitude becomes persistent, the teenagers will not be anything better than a good for nothing lazy bone. This attitude is very dangerous for the very young, energetic people. This is also a trouble for an economy that needs strong foundation to hold it or lest it will collapse.
Besides that, underage alcohol consumption leads to other uncouth behaviors such as abusing other drugs such as cocaine, heroine or even marijuana. A number of these hard drugs are highly addictive and have adverse effects once they are heavily abused. Teenagers are exposed to more dangers with time. There are various dangers that also come with intoxication. Some of these include unprotected sex with peers and ultimately result to unwanted pregnancies. This is not good at all for teenagers, in fact, teenagers should focus more on their education and how they are going to better their future.
Fighting underage alcohol consumption is an uphill task. It is the society’s responsibility to help built a straight way for the teenagers. This means that, for the parents, spend some more time with your kids. Show them love and your authority as a parent. Don’t be too harsh but always provide guidance. Marketers should as well have discipline in their mode of advertisement. The government should strengthen its policies to enhance this social calamity.
The teachers should as well play their role right. The school, an important social institution of the modern world, is slowly fading in its role of shaping disciplined elites. Therefore, the curriculum should not merely be an academic piece but should also help the children grow in a very morally way.
There is a good thing if the society revolutionalised the culture of partying. Partying should be developed in such a way that it does not promote immorality such as indulgence with alcohol. There should always be control of alcohol to under 21’s no matter what, as these youths have no rationale on a disciplined way to consume it.
Graves B, Alcohol Use and Abuse - Google Books, 13th November 2010, http://books.google.com/books?id=qiHkVbp3Ll0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Alcohol+Use+and+Abuse&hl=en&ei=RkndTJuwEYL7lwfDr8WJDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Underage Drinking, 13th November 2010. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa67/aa67.htm
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring The Future, 13th November 2010 http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/AboutNIAAA/NIAAASponsoredPrograms/Documents/ vol1_2005.pdf
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Cirrhosis, 13th November 2010 http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cirrhosis/