Photo by Stephanie Zhang
A Little Party Never Hurt
By Emily Worrell
Red Solo cups. Blaring music. Fights. Dancing. Making bad decisions. We’ve all seen tons of movies portraying teen parties as dens of sin where drunk teenagers make horrible decisions and get busted by police. But honestly, I’ve never been to or even heard of a party like that occurring in Carmel. The media’s focus on teen parties that involve alcohol, drugs and sex has created a false stereotype that all teen parties are about getting wasted or high.
These disrespectful and untrue stereotypes that are driven into the minds of society members cause too much fuss over nothing. For instance, I was at a party after homecoming this past year. It was nothing but about 15 or 20 kids hanging out and having fun. Until a police officer showed up, expecting to find a drunken rave. When he found no signs of drug or alcohol use, he immediately decided to instead scold us about the volume of our music (which, in truth, was not excessively loud) and tell us we either needed to stop the party or turn the volume down, even though we were not breaking the noise ordinance laws. These stereotypes are so drilled into people’s heads that they just assume teen parties mean drugs, alcohol and all kinds of bad decisions– even for law enforcement officers.
But in truth, teen parties are about the same as children’s parties and adults’ parties: getting together with a group of friends and having fun. Not only are parties enjoyable, but they also relieve stress and are beneficial to health. According to Optum, an organization which spreads awareness on how to live a healthy lifestyle, socialization can help people feel supported, stay mentally sharp, develop a more active lifestyle, reduce stress, and lengthen life spans. As a teen, attending and hosting parties are key components to socialization, so if parties benefit teen health, both mentally and physically, why would they be thought of as so harmful?
Part of the reason people think parties are so dangerous is what I mentioned earlier, the negative stereotype that all teens at all parties do drugs and make bad choices. However, the reason there is so much buzz and so much more press coverage about teen parties that have drugs and alcohol is not that these parties are the most common; it’s just that these are the only ones we really hear about. Newspapers don’t just print stories like “Teen throws successful, quiet party with a few friends.” A typical, calm party just isn’t news. And the reason it isn’t news is that it is normal. Therefore, these alcohol-filled parties are news specifically because they don’t typically happen. It’s just like how people see stories about arson on the news, but they don’t just assume all people are arsonists. Therefore, the same standard should be applied to teen parties: just because the newsworthy ones often involve drugs and alcohol doesn’t mean they all do.
If parties were truly the way they are represented in movies and TV shows, I would be opposed to them. Excessive drug use and underage alcohol consumption are certainly not to be trifled with. However, the truth is, most parties are completely different from these ugly stereotypes and are in fact beneficial to teen health. So get out of the house. Meet new people. Go to a party. Have fun. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
A Little Party Never Did Any Good
By Amy Zhou
Imagine this: You’re at a party with one of your friends, although you don’t know the host too well. There aren’t too many familiar faces amid the people laughing and dancing around so you grab a drink and sit by yourself on the couch, nervously tapping your fingers on the cup. You don’t even really want to be there, but your friend said everyone else would be, so there you are just nervously waiting for something to happen.
However, what if that drink had been spiked with alcohol and the candy bowl swapped out for drugs? Would you have the courage to say no to alcohol when everyone’s eyes are on you? I’m sure not too many Carmel residents can say they’ve ever partaken in illegal activities at a party, but even in our Carmel bubble, bad things can happen. Those outrageous party scenes in movies and magazines may glamorize them, but they’re anything but a pretty sight when you’re hooked to an IV in the emergency room. It’s not too much fun when you wake up alone in a hospital bed, or even land yourself a visit to jail due to drug or alcohol use. Sure, they can be a great place for teens to socialize while discovering their own social identity, but they can also be a hot spot for kids to mess around with little to no adult supervision.
We often hear the words “peer pressure” thrown around in health and wellness class, but the reality is that your friends have a much greater impact on you than you think. People may think parties relieve stress and are an important part of a teenager’s life, but the truth is that young and impressionable teens are exposed to all kinds of danger. The article “Peer Pressure and Alcohol Use amongst College Students” from New York University’s Online Publication of Undergraduate Studies, an experiment designed to show the effectiveness of peer pressure, revealed that freshmen are more susceptible to pressure from upperclassmen. When you apply this to a teenage party, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Intoxication can lead to drunk driving accidents, the leading cause of teen deaths in America. Anything can happen at a party with young and impressionable teenagers.
Many people think that parties are a stress-reliever. Think about this: waking up in a hospital is not a stress reliever. Choking on your vomit is not a stress reliever.
Now, we can’t forget about the other illicit party activities besides underage drinking. According to “7 Dangerous Teen Trends” from GreatKids, a nonprofit organization focused on child development, popular drug trends include getting high off of household objects, including bath salts and supplements. For those parents naïve enough to believe their child would never dare to try drugs—what if he or she was with a group of familiar friends? Saying no to your own curiosity is different than saying no to a couple of friends you’ve practically known since birth.
A little party has, in fact, hurt someone. A perfect example of this happened in our community in 2012. Many students at Carmel remember the name Brett Finbloom, a teen who died from alcohol poisoning at a party, weeks before graduation. His parents said he was a good kid, so why did he die? Yes, after his death the Lifeline Law was created but still many accidents like this happen. The truth is parties are dangerous and are breeding grounds for bad decisions, whether that be drug or alcohol consumption or any kind of dangerous party games. In short, parties just have too many risk factors involved for anyone to be able to truly have peace of mind at.
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