Barbara F. Meltz writes the Globe's Child Caring column. She is author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes, Understanding How Your Children See the World," and a frequent speaker to parent groups. Join her chat on the first and third Monday of the month at noon.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
On Teens, drugs & drinking
For parents of teens, two different groups are weighing in today on issues that weigh heavily on our minds: drugs, alcohol, and internet use.
Let's start with some questions: When your teen goes to a party, do you think there's alcohol and/or drugs? Eighty percent of parents say no. Fifty percent of teens say, uh, yeah, there is.
Do you think your teen ever has been offered drugs? Twenty-seven percent of parents say yes, but 45 percent of teens say it has, in fact, happened to them.
You get the drift. Parents' heads are in the sand. Or under a rock.
The research is among the findings done for the White House Anti-Drug Media Campaign which today launched an initiative called the Parent Chronicles. It's an attempt to help parents bridge the gap -- some might say chasm -- between the cultural reality our kids live in and the world we, as their parents, imagine. The premise of the campaign is that parents who make a real effort to understand the pressures and influences on kids are more likely to keep their teen healthy and drug-free. The campaign is running a series of ads called, "Do you speak teen?" View a video here; for a column by yours truly about how girls are out-pacing guys as drinkers, click here.
When it comes to internet saftey, parents are a little more reality-based. A survey released today, also in Washington, shows that 85 percent of parents of children 6 to 18 who use the Internet have talked to their chidl about how to be safe. More than 93 percent say they have tgaken action to make sure the Web sites their kid visits are safe. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for Cable in the Classroom/Common Sense Media.