There’s some good news about your teens and there's some bad. First, the good: Teens ages 13-15 exercise more than any other high-wealth nation in the world. The boys rank #1 and the girls rank #2. Yeah for the gym! The bad news: Teens are probably drunk and high while they work out. American teens rank #1 for pot smoking and #3 for binge drinking. Dude, where's my treadmill?
Only Ireland and Austria ranked higher for boozing than the U.S. did. You know kids are throwing back the hooch a bit too much when you're competing with Ireland!
Our teens get a lot of mixed messages: One the one hand, shows like The Jersey Shore show feature young men and women getting trashed on a regular basis -- with little real world consequences. Let's visit Snooki and The Situation where they're 40, with a couple of kids, and see how even more much pathetic they are. On the other hand, let's not.
But Americans, paradoxically, are fanatical about getting their kids into physical activity early. Many kids play sports from the time they can walk. And we live in a gym culture. Look at teen-oriented videos and movies: The teens may be partying, but they are also buff.
I don't think this makes much sense. It's great if we're encouraging our teens to play sports and work out. But we also need to be realistic and talk with them about the health and life repercussions of binge drinking and drugs. I'll leave it to you what to say to your kids, but say something.
What do you make of these schizoid findings on our teens?
Image via Huntsville Madison County Library/Flickr