College Binge Drinking
A recent study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health stated that two out of every five college students drink five consecutive drinks once every two weeks, determining that 44% of the college students are binge drinkers and the research was concluding enough because of it was conducted in 119 colleges (Walters, 2005). College binge drinking has become a raising issue in recent years where the rise in these events has been substantial. The ratio of binge drinking was pretty uniform during the 90s but in recent years the trends have shown that more and more new college students get into binge drinking as soon as they enter the college.
The word binge drinking means the self destruction because of continuous drinking. The reason is the intoxication of the body with alcohol and with continuous supply of alcohol, the body becomes retarded and the level of alcohol rises. However, there are much more important issues then the intoxication of the body because binge drinking impacts emphatically on the social norms of the individual and society. The binge drinkers become literally paralyzed for the few days and critically become inactive to perform their social duties which include studying, working and other co-curricular activities. In fact the studies have shown that binge drinkers when drunk are most vulnerable to fighting and engaging is unsafe sex if we just leave out the squandering of the money. The meaning of binge drinking is same in literature or arts and even if it is portrayed in the movies meaning that every school of thought perceives binge drinking more evil than social drinking where at least person is able to handle himself (Walters, 2005).
The continuing research is taking place to identify the behaviors and thought patterns of the binge drinkers but still the ratio is seemingly increasing. A research shows that college plays a role of catalyst in this situation because people who don’t go to college have very low ratio of becoming a binge drinker than those who go to college. Thus it definitely means binge drinking is somehow related to the customs and trends of the college education where the lust and power determine the future of them becoming a binge drinker. In America the age of 21 is considered as the peak age of a binge drinker where he becomes a socially addicted creature. However, the question why this happens at college can be easily answered by the role of hyped media portrayals of alcohol and beverages and college students entering into new environment become highly reluctant to experience these things which they have long heard about.
Social learning theorists debate that the learning process of a binge drinker starts around the age of 15. This is a time when he starts to perceive things depending upon how the things are portrayed. Televisions are available to 97% of Americans and the propaganda about drinking alcohol and beverages for better concentration and relaxation describe it as a good thing (Tewksbury, 2008). However, the real action starts in the college life where the freedom and finding the people with same approach is very easy.
Social norms theory on the other hand describes that behaviors of the individuals are greatly influenced by the way they perceive actions from the other members of their social groups (MacLachlan & Smyth, 2004). Social norms theory also states that the misperception is the larger problem within the members of the society because the health hazards are portrayed as good and the actions are being exaggerated at a greater extent. If a group believes that some kind of harmful behavior is a normal thing, the other members of the groups will also indulge in those actions in order to remain at equal levels. Bing drinking is therefore comes under the health hazards that are perceived as typical and therefore are very becoming more common as more and more people enter into these groups. Therefore it can be easily stated that binge drinkers follow the social norms theory in order to grow. In media advertising as well, social norms theory plays a major role where stereotyping and misperceptions of products and events are created with great success.
Another problem that allows the growth of binge drinking is the pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance is the miscommunication between the members of a group where the illegal or hazardous issues are being portrayed as the best practices which everyone wants to do, however, in reality the situation always remains completely against this notion (MacLachlan & Smyth, 2004). When binge drinkers go out at parties and other social events they always try to create a special group where they consider themselves as the best ones around. Now because of this reason they get attention and after that they binge drink. At this point the binge drinkers feel or at least try to feel that everyone around them also wants to drink and want to become a part of their group. Researchers have been so far unable to discover that whether it is their being drunk responsible for these thoughts or they try to portray themselves as like this even if they know what the reality really is. The problem with the binge drinkers is their social position in the societies and more importantly in colleges where they feel they can create hype and results according to their requirements. Because of their activities, they try to convince others as well to become a part of the group that has focus on the pluralistic ignorance. False consensus is another term that is appropriate in defining the role of the binge drinkers. The problem that has been put forward in researches is the growing number of college binge drinkers, thus it means that binge drinkers are easily recruiting more students into their groups. Therefore, false consensus definitely provides them the solid ground on which they can increase same minded people in their school of thought and let people know about what they are doing is everybody’s desire but because of the social and cultural limitations most of the people can’t do this (Tewksbury, 2008). The tearing of social norms and the occurrences of pluralistic ignorance play an important role towards the deeds that take place after these events which formally affect the social lives of these individuals for more than 24 hours.
If the analysis of the individuals in done by focusing through the social learning theory, it is evident that the person learns through its surroundings. The perception plays an important role in describing the future aspects of his cultural and social approach. Therefore even if these groups are very active and are critically laying off more students into their groups, the students should have to understand and take the decision accordingly. The difference between good and evil is quite obvious and no one needs teaching. But still the number of the binge drinkers increases. Another research shows that a large percentage of new college students are becoming a regular binge drinker but at the same time college seniors are now having less indulged in binge drinking. The college senior percentage of binge drinkers has fallen from 41% to 27% may be emphasizing that these students have changed their priorities (Wechsler, 2002). Thus it can be distinctively stated that age group of around 18-21 can become more vulnerable to binge drinking in colleges as freshmen as they try to become accustomed to the customs of their seniors. The statistics that are delivered by Harvard School of Public Health determine that the number of binge drinkers has increased over 12 million undergraduates who nearly drink around 4 billion cans of beverages, beer and alcohol every year that will conclude to around 55 packs per year by each of them. Only 25% of the students feel that the drinking greatly hurt their social aspects and their study (Wechsler, 2002). The number of packs fraternity males drink is much more than the non fraternity males, a difference of more than 100%. The number of women binge drinkers has increased over time as well and the white females are mostly involved in the binge drinking whereas black females are least vulnerable to the binge drinking. Another expect of binge drinking has also been made clear in the research showing that more than 70000 students are sexually assaulted by fellow mates under the reaction from binge drinking. Partying is another important aspect of binge drinking and it has been observed that students try to find reasons to arrange parties. Whether it is the 21st birthday, passing an exam or the last day at college, the students are always willing to indulge into these parties for the sole purpose to get close to each other and more importantly indulge into alcohol drinking (Rutledge, 2008). The expectance of the occurrence of binge drinking is twice much more in the homes than in an outside place, thus stating that parents most of the times are also getting their children get loose and become a victim of binge drinking either by drinking or by getting assaulted or by fighting. Self injuries have random statistics as if the research from the 90s is compared with that in the first decade of 21st century, the results show that there is vast decrease but if we focus on the current decade, it will be observed that the ratio of self injuries has increased. In fact currently 38% of binge drinkers somehow injure themselves intentionally.
The prevention of binge drinking is still a problem that requires refining into the procedures. It is quite evident that the students will somehow get in touch with the binge drinking whether or not they are punished or even if some checks and balances are applied to them. The probable solution should be to look at the proper ways to clear out misperceptions. Because of the clear advantage America media has over its audience, it is best to address the problems on these grounds. Properly portraying the effects, the actions and the consequences can greatly emphasize on the negative activities and can clear determine positive attitude refining of the characters and priorities. Students at ages around 18 are even most vulnerable to other issues like violent activities and stealing etc. stating that it is natural for them at this age, therefore emphasis should be kept on the mind refining so that he can understand the differences between good and bad. However, current prevention measures may not be enough to sort out this problem. The resources which students have can easily supply continuous beverages and alcohols and no one can check out every home to search. Even so, the alcohol is not banned in American society so there is even no need to carry out these actions. The target of approach should be to directly focus students and try to educate them of the formal consequences.