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grocery store aisle sign reading "Candy, Beer, Wine"

We acknowledge underage drinking as a serious problem in the U.S., so why is alcohol still such a pervasive part of our society even for our children?

Underage drinking is the consumption of alcohol by minors (people under the age of 21). According to CDC’s website, people from ages 12 to 20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the US. Furthermore, minors tend to drink more in one sitting than adults. As the human brain doesn’t fully develop until a person’s twenties, it’s easy to imagine children experiencing brain problems as they drink alcohol at such an early age. In light of these issues, a number of media campaigns have been waged to curb underage drinking, but they don’t seem to counteract the overall marketing of alcohol. In fact, the media seems to encourage alcohol more than condemn it.

For every commercial warning against the adverse effects of alcohol, there’s also one advertising some kind of alcoholic beverage (many of which are broadcast during sporting events, which are supposed to be for everyone). If not a commercial, a movie or a song promoting alcohol as a game or a fun party instrument. And if the above photo is any indication, grocery stores are becoming lax in keeping alcohol out of the way of curious, younger consumers. Considering all of this, it’s plausible to say that children are more encouraged to drink than discouraged.

It’s good that we’re at least making some kind of effort to discourage kids from drinking, but it’d be so much more effective if we stopped drowning out the good messages with the bad.