Friday, December 9, 2011

Alcoholic Teens

A classmate of mine, Alex Cheyenne, believes the legal drinking age in the US should be lowered back down to a cool 18. Alex believes that having a higher drinking age causes the youngins to drink secretly, without supervision, which causes a higher death toll for these drunk teens. A commenter on Alex's post, Christina Valdez, disagrees with Alex on the grounds that teens are not full adults, but 21 year olds are in the right mind to look out for themselves.

I disagree with both the author, and Ms Valdez.

Let me start by suggesting that the legal drinking age was chosen at 21 because supposedly that is the age that the brain leaves the essential developmental stage in adolescents. Why it was raised from 18 to 21, I am not entirely sure. I'm not even 100% sure of the accuracy behind my first statement, but I must now go on to confuse you further by saying it's irrelevant. In comparing the cultural use of alcohol in this country to that of Europe, the legal drinking age has nothing to do with the death toll relating to alcohol consumption. In the US, children are brought up to idealize alcohol consumption as something outside themselves that they must obtain, wether that be like-ability, friendliness, conquering of fears, etc. Children are raised to see that getting drunk is "cool." They may not be learning this from their parents, but the media has set this standard. In Europe, however, children typically are raised around alcohol in their home, as if it's no big deal (because it really isn't). From a relatively early age, adolescents are taught how to drink responsibly, and how to tell when you have reached your limit. Getting drunk is not considered "cool" in most places in Europe, in stead it's generally viewed as trashy.

So in response to wether or not the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered to 18 again, it wouldn't matter. Kids will be reflections of the media's idealized kids. Until our culture develops a distaste toward our modern use of alcohol, illegal drinking, drunk driving, and other such antics will still occur. So in conclusion, the drinking age should absolutely be lowered. Rock on, teens. You're going to do it anyway, so why not?

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