Children, Adolescents, Substance Abuse, and the Media

Topics: Drinking culture, Drug addiction, Alcohol abuse Pages: 9 (1428 words) Published: April 27, 2014


Children, Adolescents, Substance Abuse, and the Media
American Military University

Children, Adolescents, Substance Abuse, and the Media

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the media plays the largest role of influence on substance use among children and adolescents in the United States. Movies, television commercials and shows, music, internet, advertisements, books, social networking sites, video games, and even cellular phone applications allow for the belief that using alcohol and drugs is the popular thing to do. Although society tries to get teenagers and pre-teens to ‘just say no’, companies spend billions of dollars each year condoning use of cigarettes and alcohol. “Superbad” produced by Columbia Pictures, although rated R is aimed at a teenage audience. The movie portrays not only alcohol use and abuse, but also the purchasing of it illegally in the attempt to inebriate two girls. The movie does not show alcohol use being a gateway drug; neither does it show to potential negative effects of binge drinking. The media will continue to influence children and adolescents until congress and the government take the war on drugs to a new level and prohibit the advertising of alcohol and drugs on television during youth-oriented broadcasting and establishes additional laws for each industry.

“Superbad” produced by the popular production company Columbia Pictures, was released in August 2007, with a R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. A R-rating refers to the movie as being Restricted and those under the age of 17 years must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to watch the film. This movie grossed $170 million in the box office and was nominated as best movie at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards.

Two of the main characters, Seth and Evan, labeled as the unpopular kids, are best friends about to graduate high school. They both desperately want to lose their virginity and when invited to a graduation party, so long as they bring alcohol, the opportunity is at their fingertips. They do not have a means to obtain the alcohol, so they invite their awkward friend Fogell (also known as McLovin) that gets a fake identification card (ID) in order to buy the alcohol. First, Fogell gets away with the fake ID and is able to purchase the alcohol illegally but not before a robber knocks him out in an attempt to rob the liquor store. Luckily the police arrive and still as this Fogell character checks out with the alcohol, the cops don’t catch the fake ID either, instead make conversation. With Fogell taking so long, Seth and Evan assume he has been arrested because the cops are inside with him and he hasn’t come out of the store yet. Seth and Evan find other means to get the alcohol and head out to the party without Fogell. The movie depicts how easy it is for teens to gain access to alcohol. According to Charles Levinthal (2012), one of the major challenges when considering the options in reducing underage drinking is how easy it is to access alcohol beverages.

Once at the party, everyone is binge drinking, the girls they were hoping to inebriate were already drunk and have spent the night drinking heavily. According to Levinthal (2012), a common social ritual in adolescents and teens is binge drinking. Although this movie is a comedy, alcohol is portrayed as not only a ticket to get into a party, but a drug to get two girls inebriated in order for the unpopular boys to have sex for the first time. Levinthal (2012) states that while intoxicated, approximately twenty percent of young adults participate in unintended sexual activity. Socially, not only getting someone drunk to have sex with them, but having unplanned sex yourself is accepted and often bragged about in the community of young adults. Being a part of the in crowd is the most important endeavor for a lot of teenagers and doing...
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