Terrifying Teen Trends: Vodka Eyeballing
You may have never heard of "vodka-eyeballing" or "trash mobs," but chances are your kids are familiar with these dangerous trends. "[Parenting] used to be worrying only about your kids coming in at night when the street lights turned on," explains Lisa from World's Strictest Parents, who along with her husband Cliff outline some of the potentially deadly activities to look out for:
"Kids will actually take a bottle of vodka, put it to their eyeball, tip it up and take a shot through their eye under the premise that they will get drunk faster because it will go into their blood stream quicker," Lisa explains. Because peer pressure may be an influence, Lisa says that parents need to reach their kids first. "We need to let them know the reality - I think we need to be proactive and to let our kids know what’s going on and what the consequences are, the reality, and not the glory that their friends make it out to be."
Cliff says that it's the parents' responsibility to bring these matters to their children's attention before they get disinformation elsewhere. "Our kids have to know that we love them enough and we care enough to let them know what’s going on, because we all know with the Internet, with the telephones that the kids have, this stuff is in your house right now." Lisa adds, "They’re getting it from somewhere and I think as parents we have an obligation and a responsibility to tell them."
Cliff explains that kids as young as elementary school are experimenting with homemade flamethrowers using simple toys like water guns, or even soda bottles, and filling them with flammable liquids. "Here’s the scary part," Cliff warns. "These kids can get instructions on how to make these things [online]. I mean, just like that it shows them step by step what to do." Lisa adds, "It’s our responsibility to make sure we know what they’re doing, and since they’re in our home and we pay the bills, we get to look at their [Internet] history on where they’re going; it's out in the open, there’s nothing in hiding. That’s just the rules that we have and I think it's not to be Gestapo or Big Brother, it's to be their parents and to protect them, sometimes even from themselves."
Based on "flash mobs" where dozens or hundreds of people will conspire to meet at a certain place at a specific time, Lisa explains that in trash mobs the large crowds will use their meeting location as an opportunity for violence and destruction. "What used to be funny little pranks is turning into acts of violence against other people," she says. "Lives have been lost, and what’s happening now is these good kids get caught up in literally the mob mentality: doing things that they would never do alone but in a mob they feel anonymous and safe."
Cliff says to go with your gut if you suspect your child might be caught up in such an activity. "If you think something’s going wrong, generally it is," he says. "And here’s where it comes back to us as parents - the authorities now are severely prosecuting these kids, and anything financial that happens with your minor child, the parent is financially responsible ... and that’s the thing we try to reiterate to our kids: This isn’t just about you or Billy or Tommy and Jimmy, this is about our livelihood, this is about our jobs, this is about our homes."
The Choking Game
Some kids are using choking to get a quick high, either by doing it to themselves or having it done to them by others. Lisa explains, "Kids lack the concept of consequences and what’s gonna happen when they do this. They don’t really understand that this is a physiological thing that they’re losing brain cells when it happens - they could choke and kill someone." Cliff adds that this dangerous activity can be found not just in high schools, but also at the elementary school level.
"Do a code of conduct with your kids," Lisa advises. "Make a contract, sit down and write all the things out with them that you don’t want them to do: drinking and driving; vodka-eyeballing; the choking game - be descriptive in what you’re doing. Have them sign it, and know that this is a fluid contract. It’s gonna change over time depending on their age, and what’s going on. It lets them know that you’re involved with their lives, that you love them, that you care. Give them a hug afterwards and say, 'It's because I love you that we’re having to do this.'"
Cliff says, "We get concerned about being a teenager's friend and being our kids' friend sometimes and we kind of lose track that, hey, we’re supposed to be the parent first." Lisa adds, "We need to make sure that our lines of communication are open and flowing back and forth. That with our kids, their communication is not just coming from their friends, but it's coming from us, the people who love them the most."
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