Drinking will not have the same effect on people underage or not
Even adults get messed up more that teenagers while drinking.
A difficult question, especially as there is no point in deluding ourselves - hardly anyone is holy. Sure, people follow the rules, but there are also people who constantly break them. For me it is “normal” to know that someone is consuming alcohol before the age of 18 or 21 (depends on the law and country). Is it good? Well, we could argue over each person’s point of view, but let’s see that the Episode is also read by people under the age of 18 - sometimes they are 13, 14 or 15 years old. And in my opinion, if a character is shown to do whatever it takes to get alcohol or get into clubs without being aware that it is wrong and illegal, it becomes a problem.
(Like FakeID, sneak into club or whatever.)
However, if we take into consideration that the plot in which the use of alcohol (or all kind of drugs) by a minor is “justified” to some extent - and I mean: a problematic approach to the subject, and not “because she/he wants to”, then I am able to understand it. It all depends on what the author wants to tell, whether, for example: he/she will explain to his readers that such behavior is not good or can lead to consequences. It is good to raise awareness about underage drinking. We don’t have to “live”" in colorful fairy tales, when the real world awaits us outside the window.
I hope this all make sense
It makes a lot of sense.
Long post ahead.
I think it depends a lot on the character’s culture and where the story is set (even though that’s just part of it). You can’t talk about this issue in a ‘general’ way, because often the word ‘general’ actually stands for ‘american-centric’ and it just doesn’t apply to the rest of the world.
It doesn’t, not only because each country has different laws to apply to minors consuming alcohol, but also because despite what the laws say, cultures sometimes follow their own set of ‘norms’. And even aside from that, social issues that are pressing in some countries are not really an issue in others.
In the US, the legal age to only even taste alcohol is 21. But the US also has a long history of issues with alcohol in the first place. There are still some states where the consumption of alcohol is regulated more than others. All this contributed to making alcohol as close to a taboo in the US as ever. Seeing a minor drink alcohol is demonized, whilst in other countries it’s viewed as normal.
Take Italy for example, my country.
brief talk on legality
Italy has one of the biggest, most successful, and finest wine productions in the world. You get it, wine is everywhere here, and everyone gets to have a sip no matter how old or young. The legal age to sell alcohol to is 18, whilst the legal age to serve alcohol to is 16.
Do you see the difference?
In Italy, the person who’s legally responsible in case of minors+alcohol is not the minor. It’s the adult (18+ years of age) who either sells alcohol or serves it. In theory, in Italy you’re allowed to be served alcohol starting at 16, and you’re allowed to purchase alcohol starting at 18. But you––minor––will never go to prison or have to pay if you’re found ‘breaking the law’. Also because there’s no age limit for you to decide to serve alcohol to yourself!
Is it morally okay though? Medically fine? No, of course it isn’t, and your parents should know better than to teach you you can drink alcohol whenever and however you want. Also because if anything happens to you after consuming alcohol, and you’re a minor, your parents or any adult responsible for you can go to jail for lack of proper supervision. But as for you, you’re just sent to the hospital to recover
Sounds counterintuitive? It’s because in Italy minors aren’t called like that for no reason. According to the Italian law a minor mostly doesn’t have the legal capacity to take legal actions or decisions for themselves or for others. Their parents or guardians are legally responsible for them. And that includes alcohol.
But like I said, it’s also due to local cultures. Laws have to be compatible with the countries cultures, otherwise people would riot :'D
brief cultural talk
In Italy, sipping alcohol as a child is culturally accepted. In fact, when I was as young as 5 I would sometimes drink little ‘shots’ of prosecco (an Italian white wine similar to champagne). My brother around the same age would drink red wine diluted with lots of water. And we were and are both perfectly fine
I believe the same happens in other countries such as France, so really giving a child a little alcohol to taste once in a while literally does nothing.
The problem imo is if consuming alcohol is done compulsively and heavily. Normal teens in Italy don’t go as far as to get fake IDs to purchase alcohol. Why would they if it’s widely available in any household anyway. And normal teens don’t go to clubs or pubs to purchase their alcohol, because they know they wouldn’t be allowed to. Simple. If you do some research on the topic, you’d find that if something is widely available to anyone, people wouldn’t go crazy with its consumption knowing they can get it at any given time. You’d be surprised at the amount of teens who get drunk in Italy vs in the US.
However, I also believe the problem isn’t just legal or cultural, rather moral. If it’s okay for a teen to drink some relatively light alcohol drinks once in a while (wine, beer, etc.), and it’s wrong for them to turn to hard liquors or to alcohol in general too frequently and too heavily, then why is it be okay for adults to?
Too much and heavy alcohol is toxic for both minors and adults. So really, what are we exactly talking about here? Why is it an issue only for teenagers to have drinks?
So in short.
If your point is them using fake IDs, and lying about their age, etc., that’s them breaking the law. Making or commissioning/purchasing a fake ID alone is enough to get you arrested. Drinking alcohol is too if you’re a minor in some countries, but legally totally okay in others. In certain cultures allowing little alcohol to people as young as children is fine too, as long as it isn’t too much. Also, it doesn’t seem to cause any health-related problems to the minor either. The issue is if it’s too much. But too much is too much for minors as well as it is for adults.
Understandable, alcohol is bad for both adults and minors.
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Really depends on how young the underage drinkers are. I’m from Denmark where there’s no legal drinking age, although you have to be 16 to buy low percentage alcohol (anything under 16,5%, like beers, ciders and most wine) and 18 to buy more ‘hardcore’ alcohol like vodka or tequila. However, I was about 15 when I started to drink beers and ciders and 16 when I started drinking shots (with an alcohol percentage of 16,4% which you’re allowed to buy when you turn 16). Looking back now (I’m 22), I think I was really young and wouldn’t recommend teenagers drinking at that age unless it’s a few beers or so.
So basically, I think, even if it’s fictional, that underage drinking shouldn’t happen in stories. I’m afraid it does affect the readers, possibly making teenage readers think it’s acceptable to drink at age 16.
I understand, some stories makes it look like its cool to drink when you still a minor .
I don’t approve it at all.
No, I mean…
My dad has had an alcohol problem for years, so I tend to consider alcohol… not a trigger, but something I’m more concerned about than I should be.
If my ma has a glass of wine I try to prevent her from drinking it, out of fear.
I don’t drink alcohol, but when I get a sip of it just to taste I immediately want more.
Stuff like that.
So you don’t like watching minors drink because it concern you they might end up with the same problem?
In a weird way, yes.
In my situation, having an addicted parent can potentially double your chances, and a lot of other family members have addiction problems as well.
So basically I’m screwed.
But if it’s all in good humor (party in a story not about alcoholism etc) then it’s okay. It’s just if the story is ABOUT addiction or has it as a major theme.
Am I concerned that it sends the wrong message? Yes and no
You are not “screwed”. The fact that you are aware, is enough to help you make smarter decisions and it seems you are trying by staying away from it. Don’t take a sip if you know you can’t stop. You can do it.
I do not agree with drinking under 18… Depending on the characters in my stories, I sometimes include it because it’s totally realistic for some and making fake, perfect characters isn’t my thing.
I don’t mind it that much as there are underage drinking… it’s just fiction. I don’t try to take it as nothing more than that.
I’m okay with seeing it in stories as long as it’s not too frequent, and they aren’t encouraging people to drink underage
I get it.
just on a minor point of view will they take is as fiction or will they see it as encouragement that its okay?
I haven’t seen someone take fiction as something that is normal or an encouragement. It’s a story there’s nothing to be taken literally.