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Post Column: The World Spins Madly On: Bad college habits invading younger teens' lives


As college students, it’s no secret that many of us are sexually active and are exposed to alcohol and drugs regularly. 

Does the regularity of these things make the exposure morally right? Does the decreasing age of exposure mean that we want 5-year-old children watching porn and drinking booze? 

I’m not looking down on college life. Hell, I’m a participant. However, I must say that I do commend the sober ones and I do commend the virgins.

Drinking in increments isn’t necessarily a danger. Drugs and cigarettes are choices that might or might not harm you. But even if it doesn’t harm you personally, it could pose a danger to those around you. 

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings because, as we grow older, the younger generation looks to us as a model of behavior. If we aren’t setting a good example for our current youth, then we are setting them up to spiral downward into bad habits and into a younger age of corruption.

Nowadays, one in three eighth-grade students drink alcohol. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, teen alcohol use kills more than 6,000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined. 

About 11 million Americans younger than 21 abuse alcohol. What’s most frightening is the age that many of these teens are doing so. 

As college students, it’s expected that we will drink and either personally do drugs and have sex or at least know many people who do. 

For an 11-year-old though, taking part in these things isn’t so expected. The average boy will try alcohol at age 11 and the average girl will try alcohol at age 13. 

As for drugs, the number of teens choosing to do them has been increasing rapidly. I believe that in part, it could be because more teens are witnessing our age group also choosing to do drugs. These teens are under the impression that in doing drugs, they are being cool. 

I know for me, when I was 13, if I gave in to the fib “everyone is doing it,” I wanted to do it, too. 

The highly indicated time for which teens try pot in today’s society is now during their eighth-grade year.

It’s been said that marijuana can act as a gateway drug, leading its users to try more intense and harmful drugs. Although this belief is often argued, with a younger and more oblivious audience, this case is often proved true. 

About 50 percent of marijuana users do end up trying harder drugs at some point, as researched by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. For example, the 12-year-old boy who took a hit of pot might be more likely to try heroin than a 20-year-old pot user, seeing that the 20-year-old user is more educated on the dangers of harder drugs. 

Unfortunately, the youth doesn’t always know, and the age for such hard drugs is shocking. Many kids between the ages of 12 and 14 will go on to try more addicting drugs such as cocaine and heroin. 

The average age for teens to first be exposed to online pornography is 11. Eighty percent of teens between ages 15 and 17 have been exposed to graphically hardcore porn on numerous occasions. 

After watching the act, teens feel pressured to then commit the act themselves. Whereas about 30 years ago, many teens were still adamant about attempting to wait until marriage, now the average age for teens to lose their virginity is 17. 

And the ages are even lower when it comes to oral sex and foreplay. At this age, teens aren’t fully aware of the diseases and harms it could inflict on their bodies, let alone their hearts.

For naive children who don’t always know the risks that they are taking, they are flirting with danger. We are all college students looking to have a good time, but while we are having a good time, it’s important to still act responsibly and to know our surroundings. 

Many of us have younger siblings, and the majority of us will one day go on to have children of our own. 

What age do we want our kids to be drinking, to be doing drugs or to be watching porn with their friends? 



Olivia Harlow is a sophomore studying journalism and photojournalism and a columnist for The Post. If you’re trying to make a better impression for your younger sibling, email her at

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