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  • Lauri Beekmann

Parents fear online drugs, but it's alcohol their teens consume

02.05.2023 - Online drugs are the substances that worry most teenage parents - with over one in four (28 percent) expressing concern - even though only one in 100 teenagers has tried them. Meanwhile, seven in 10 teenagers have consumed alcohol, which concerns only 17 percent of parents. This is according to a new study by IQ, presented ahead of Walpurgis Night.

Walpurgis Night, a celebration when many young people come into contact with alcohol, is soon approaching. For some, this event marks their first experience with alcohol. Although today's youth consume less alcohol compared to previous generations, far too many are still introduced to alcohol too early. Four in ten ninth graders and seven in ten second-year high school students drink alcohol. Many of those who drink also consume excessive amounts, particularly around Walpurgis Night.

Mojtaba Ghodsi, CEO of IQ, said, "Prevailing norms and culture dictate that young people test boundaries and, for example, consume alcohol, even though they are not allowed to. One of several challenges with this is that things can go awry when alcohol is combined with a lack of experience and an underdeveloped sense of consequences. Parents play a crucial role here. Engaging with and talking to their children about alcohol and being clear about expectations makes a big difference."

The brain, which develops up to the age of 25, is more sensitive in young people. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgment, memory, and reaction time. Alcohol also increases the risk of accidents. In nearly six out of ten assault cases, alcohol is involved. Alcohol can also lead to serious relationship problems. In surveys, teenagers report getting into fights with friends, having regrettable sex, and being filmed or photographed in embarrassing or offensive situations while intoxicated. An early introduction to alcohol also increases the risk of addiction in adulthood.

Ahead of Walpurgis Night, IQ is sending the handbook "Teen Talk" to nearly 122,000 teenage parents. Since 2002, the handbook has facilitated conversations about alcohol between parents and teenagers.

IQ's five tips for teenage parents:

  1. Provide love and show concern.

  2. Show interest and listen.

  3. Remember that you are a role model.

  4. Be clear and set boundaries.

  5. Do not serve alcohol or buy for underage teens.

About the survey: The survey was conducted by Norstat using a web panel of 3,502 teenage parents with children aged 13-17 years during the period of March 21-30, 2023. Read more about the survey results and regional findings in the attached fact sheet.

Facts about teenage drug habits: The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) annually measures experiences of alcohol, drugs, doping, tobacco, and gambling among students in ninth grade and second-year high school students.

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