Unfortunately we seem to look in all the wrong places for solutions to social problems in this great land of ours. I mean, let's be honest. We study, dissect, analyze and restudy issues of concern that have absolutely nothing to do with the problem itself. And what follows is just the latest example of this well-intentioned but grossly misguided logic. The subject is underage drinking.
A new study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth has determined that liquor Web sites on the Internet are the reason that many young people turn to underage drinking. This highly suspect study says that over 700,000 underage people visited the liquor industry Web sites during the past six months. And somehow, from that sampling, they believe that the Web sites push underage kids to drink alcohol.
Here's a little secret. Don't tell anyone. An overwhelming percentage of kids try alcohol long before the legal age. That doesn't justify their behavior and we should pursue just about any alternative to dissuade kids from drinking. But to assume that a Web site with games and an events calendar is responsible for underage drinking is a stretch to say the least.
Peer pressure and the seemingly indestructible nature of youth are the reasons that most kids try that first drink. Curiosity comes into play as well. And on some occasions, throw in a lack of parental authority and responsibility. These are the factors that impact underage drinking. We need to quit looking at a Web site or some other figment of our imagination as the blame for a social problem. But I doubt we'll waver too much from this point-the-finger-of-blame mentality at anything other than the obvious.
No one can condone underage drinking. But in all honesty, most of you reading this were probably guilty of this same issue. Despite that however, I'm all in favor of trying anything that will address this problem. I just think we need to spend our time and resources on targets that are truly to blame. And a Web site is far from a logical beginning point, in my opinion.