Impact Article

Teens Vulnerable to Risky Behaviors During Spring Break

03.16.2012
Posted by Leon Fooksman of yourPBC.org

Parents take note: It's Spring Break, a time when many teens are looking to put away the books, go out with their friends, and, unfortunately, take part in risky behaviors.

Spring Break is often a chance for teens to let loose - and judging from this week's news stories about "anything goes parties" associated with the new movie "Project X," parents need to set rules, ask lots of questions, and monitor what their children are doing.

In Miramar:

"An 18-year-old is facing criminal charges and a lawsuit threat after authorities say he vandalized an unoccupied home, then posted a YouTube video promising to host the type of wild party depicted in the new movie "Project X." (Sun-Sentinel)

In Houston:

"A group of teenagers are in trouble after they allegedly broke in to a new house, threw a party and trashed it, police said. The damages are staggering, and investigators said the stunt may have been inspired by a new movie." (KHOU)

Similar copycat "Project X"-related incidents are occurring across the nation, just as Spring Break kicks into high gear. In the hit movie, teens throw a property-destroying and drug-filled celebration.

Keep in mind, teens are vulnerable to peer pressure and during Spring Break they may find themselves in circumstances where their judgment may be poor. And these days, with the fast spread of social media like Facebook and Twitter, bad decisions that are regretted for years to come can be made within moments.

During Spring Break, many teens have a lot unsupervised time and money to spend. They are under peer pressure to "have fun, " which can include drug use.

More teens start using marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol for the first time between the spring and summer months - prime time for teens on Spring Break when many are unsupervised by parents or teachers, according to The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Further, teen girls are more vulnerable than boys in engaging in risky activities.

The good news is that parents are a powerful deterrent to drug or alcohol use. Parents need to know that to ensure that Spring Break is fun and safe.