30 Mar National Drugs & Alcohol Facts Week: Underage Drinking
As part of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, we’d like to remind parents about the importance of talking to their children and teens about underage drinking.
You may be thinking, “We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, why would I worry about talking to my kids about alcohol now?”
While the coronavirus is the No. 1 concern in the country right now, it is not the only concern. And it may even be more imperative than ever during this time to talk to your children about underage drinking as well.
The impact of the coronavirus on young people’s lives has been incredible. Stress and boredom are more prevalent than ever for teens. Unfortunately, these can be strong risk factors for underage drinking.
According to a 2003 study from Columbia University, highly stressed teens are twice as likely to drink, and bored teens are 50% more likely to drink.
While teens are out of school, be sure you are still monitoring their activities, and monitor and consider locking up your alcohol. According to the Texas School Survey, 50% of 7-12th graders in East Texas believed it would be somewhat or very easy to get alcohol.
And while teens are out of school, they will be spending a lot of time on social media, which can play a role in their decision to drink.
According to the Center on Addiction, 75% of 12-to-17-year-olds who saw teens partying with alcohol said it encouraged other teens to use, and that it “seemed like the teens were having a good time.” Another study revealed that “Compared to teens who spent no time on social networking sites in a typical day, teens who did were three times likelier to have used alcohol” and “teens who had been cyberbullied were more than twice as likely to drink compared to teens who had not been cyber-bullied.”
You might think “What is the harm if my teen drinks at home,” since they likely won’t be going out much while everyone is practicing social distancing during the pandemic. However, there are many other ways that drinking is harmful to teens, including damaging their developing brains and increasing the likelihood of addiction.
Experts offer a few suggestions for mitigating the effects of the stress and boredom that many teens are feeling during the coronavirus, as well as talking to your child about underage drinking in general. Here are some tips for how to have that conversation.