Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Not Me; It's Them

OK, maybe someone needs to tell me to calm down.

What you may not be able to read in this picture is the label on this "prescription" so I'll write it out for you:

Harry Hypochondriac
SKITTLES TABLET

1 TAB ORALLY DAILY (FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES)

DOOLITTLE, DR. MD

Now, I am a mom who has countless books and leaflets floating through my house about how to talk to your kids about drugs: why drugs are bad; what they can do to you; why kids shouldn't use them; why kids shouldn't trust friends who offer them drugs even if they are friends they would normally trust; how drugs can look harmless, or like candy or maybe even taste good. Need I go on?

OK. So one day, THIS thing shows up in my house. At first glance, it's amusing. Dr. Doolittle, ha ha. Harry Hypochondriac, ha ha. Take one a day for 30 days, and they are candy, ha ha.

But here's the thing: they were given to my kid. I'm not going to say when or by whom because this blog isn't really the place for that. But I do want to ask, "Seriously? Are middle schoolers really the right target for such a giveaway? Or did no one give it any thought?"

I'm thinking the latter, and I'm thinking that's a big part of the problem with many of our teen issues these days.

I'm embarrassed to say how many people I know who use drugs today, either recreationally or for self-medicating purposes. In every case, the drugs in question are illegal. This is why such a gimmicky giveaway is not surprising to me: I think adults take drug use much too lightly in this country.

Most would likely tell me to calm down--that I'm not just over but ├╝ber-reacting--because apparently I'm imagining a connection between the feelgood nature of sugar and drugs. But a recent study actually says I'm not.

We also live in a world where gimmicks get you noticed, where there is so much advertising and so many avertorials and infomercials that even adults can't tell what's marketing and what's news anymore. This is why I try to stay out of the television loop; to keep my perspective. When I do pass by it, and frequently hear a commercial for a new pill, I can't help but laugh at all of the possible side-effects that are listed at the end.

'Can't sleep? Take this pill and your problem will be solved. You may suffer from anxiety, depression, anger, pain and suicidal thoughts as a result, your car will break down, your house will burn to the ground and your spouse will leave you, but at least you'll be able to sleep.'

Really? Do people even listen to that part, or does it come off as an, 'oh, by the way, our lawyers made us say this' add-on?

I laugh, but probably because it scares me. My kids see these commercials. What do they think of them? What message do they hear?

Maybe I am crazy-aware. But I constantly try to see things from a different perspective so I can hopefully show my kids that not everything is what it seems. If nothing else, they need to stop and think about the product first. My job as a parent is to make that blurry line between ads and news as clear for them as I possibly can. How else can they make good, well-informed choices?

1 comment:

Snowbrush said...

And yesterday, I saw on the news that kids are huffing freon from home air conditioning units.