TheGovernment should set Some Special Laws for Teenagers
Thewhole universe is governed by laws. Natural laws keep the planets inposition. That is why all the stars and other heavenly bodies movefreely in space without colliding. Therefore, such laws ensure thateverything is in order. Natural laws still apply to human beings andthey are inborn. For example, you cannot dip your finger in extremelyhot water because you know you will get burnt. However, people tendto down grade the moral laws that govern the society. Cases of rape,theft, murder etc. have been reported around the world. Many peoplethink that rules and regulations act as a barrier that prevents themfrom accessing something good. They therefore go ahead and questionthe rules. Some go a step further to break the rules.
Manyrules apply to people in general. For instance, no one is allowed tocommit murder. But there are other rules that treat a certain groupof people in a special manner. The groups could be specified in termsof age or gender. For example, adults are allowed to drink alcoholwhereas teenagers are restricted from drinking alcohol. Teenagers arealso restricted when it comes to marriage, work, and driving motorvehicles. However, many argue that there should be no rule thattreats the teens in a special manner. The teenagers themselves yearnto be viewed and treated like grownups. In this article, I am makingan attempt to find out why some rules treat teenagers in a specialway. This article starts by giving a good definition of teenagers andtheir development. The paper supports the special laws that are setby the government and meant for teenagers. This article goes ahead toexplain why such laws are essential.
Inthe teenage years, young men and women start their quests foridentity. It becomes hard for parents to understand their childrenanymore. Teenagers attempt to establish themselves through dressing,owning possessions like stereos and sunglasses. Such symbols helpthem form teen identities via expressing affiliation with specificgroups. Teenagers hold the feeling that they can gain recognition andacceptance if they act like their mature counterparts. Such feelingsencourage them to engage in habits and practices that associated withadults. Such practices include tabooed pleasures like smoking, drugs,drinking and sexual activity. They start yearning for independenceand reject their parents’ authority with the aim of maintainingacceptance of their peers.
Teenagerslook up to celebrities since they seek to experiment with differentroles. They can often identify themselves with certain figures andtry to become like some people. This results in a loss of identity.Their identification with famous people gives the teens a sense ofbelonging. Teens constantly try to define and redefine themselves.They hate being associated with people who have unattractive andunacceptable characteristics. Teenagers can be motivated to show offtheir abilities. For example, a teenager can drive crazily to impresshis or her peers. Others may engage in drinking competitions. Theoutcome of such actions can prove to be fatal. Taking a look at thefacts, can help us see the real situation on the ground.
Inthe year 2012, nearly 72% of students had consumed alcohol beforefinishing high school and more than 37% had engaged in the practiceby the 8thgrade. A study conducted by Columbia University showed that underagedrinkers consume 11.4% of all the alcohol in the United States. Teenboys try alcohol for the first time at the age of eleven. For theteen girls, the age is thirteen[ CITATION JAC14 l 1033 ].In the same year (2012), about ten million young adults between theage of 12 and 20, agreed that they had taken alcohol in the past onemonth. Statistics show that teenagers who start drinking before theyreach 15 are likely to abuse alcohol when they get older(Dosomething.org,2015).
In2010, there was an approximated record of 189,000 emergency roomvisits by teenagers under 21 years of age. The visits resulted frominjuries linked to alcohol. Teens who engage in heavy drinking tendto hurt themselves than those who don’t. 90% of teenagers in theU.S agree that the consequences of drinking alcohol are not worth therisk. The causes of death for young people between the age of 15 and24 are homicides, car accidents, and suicide. The three are caused byalcohol. The 2011 National Survey on health and drug use show thatthe rate of alcohol consumption increases with age (Dosomething.org,2015).
Caraccidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. in2011, about 2650 teens aged 16-19 died in road accidents and some292,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. This could mean thatsome seven teenagers died on a daily basis from the motor vehicleinjuries. 14% of the whole U.S. population is comprised of youngpeople between 16-19 years of age. However, the same people accountfor 30% of the total costs of car accidents among the male populationand 28% among the female population. Statistics prove that the riskof motor vehicle accidents among the youth aged 16-19 is higher thanany other age group. Those who are highly at risk include: teensdriving with teenage passengers, newly licensed teens and male teens(NCIPC),(DUIP) & Prevention, 2015).
Teenagerstend to underestimate dangerous situations and at times fail torecognize hazardous situations. Teens like driving at greater speedsthan the older generation. Compared with the older age groups,teenagers rarely use seat belts. At all levels of alcoholconcentration in the blood, the risk of involvement in car accidentsis greater in teens than in their older counterparts.
TheNeed for Special Rules
Evidently,teenagers need to be protected from themselves. Since they cannotcontrol their behaviors and habits, it is necessary to enforcespecial rules that are meant to keep them safe. Many countries haveset the legal drinking age to be 18. However, this is not the casewith the U.S. on July 17, 1984 President Ronald Reagan signed theNational Minimum Drinking Age Act (Boston.com,2015).The law required all the state in the U.S. to up the drinking age to21. All states adopted the law. The signing of the act into law, mademany to start arguments about the drinking age. The law worked! Sincethen, records show that drunk driving accidents dropped by 50%. Themarked proportion of the decline was among the 16-20 year oldbracket. 37% of the fatalities were alcohol related (Report.nih.gov,2015)
Studentsat college hate the drinking age. Many don not comply with the law.However, to course these young adults to obey the law, it is good tofocus on the disadvantages of drinking. During the teenage years,people are transformed from mere children to adults. They undergocognitive development. The brain is restructured and it undergoesfurther specialization. Unnecessary neural connections are eliminatedand refined between the frontal-subcortical regions of the brain.Research indicates that alcohol consumption especially through bingedrinking before the full maturation of the brain, could lead topermanent harm to the brain thus hindering cognitive development. The prefrontal cortex is one major area that goes through the mostrapid changes during the teenage years. The area is involved indecision making and judgment. Therefore, if teens engage themselvesin drinking, they suffer lapses in judgment. If teen drinks too muchwhile his/her brain is still forming, when he/she gets to his/heradult years, he/she will face trouble when completing difficulttasks.
Theconsumption of alcohol especially when the brain is developingincreases the risk of alcohol dependency. One study found that peoplewho engage in regular drinking during their teenage years were morelikely to develop alcohol dependency later in their lives. Instead ofbreaking the law, teenagers should look for other ways of having fun.Adults above the age of 21 cannot suffer much brain damage as theresult of drinking since their brains are fully developed. Thespecial law that is put in place against teenage drinking istherefore necessary.
Inthe U.S, a teenager can learn how to drive and get a license at theage of 16. However, the teenager is still restricted in some way bythe law[ CITATION Ger08 l 1033 ].Forexample, a teenager with a learner permit may not be allowed to haveany passengers on board except a licensed instructor givinginstructions. A licensed driver at the age of 16 and 17 can onlydrive with parents or legal guardians or a driving instructor. If theteenager is not yet 18, he may not drive in the night between 11p.mand 5 a.m. All the passengers aboard the vehicle must make use ofpermanently installed safety belts. The teenagers are not allowed touse any mobile devices while driving.
Someteenagers tend to disagree with the restrictions because theyoverestimate themselves. But it is good to appreciate that rules aremeant to act as a protection and not as a restriction. For instance,a teenager driving alone in the night can be easily hijacked. Inmoments of panic, it is good to have an experienced driver as thepassenger since he can come to the aid of a panicking teen. Drivingshould be studied in stages. It is good for teenagers to be patientuntil they reach the age of21 so that they can enjoy the freedom theso much want. The driving law is meant to assist teenagers inacquiring the experience. By the time a teen starts driving onhis/her own, he/she will be having enough experience.
Whenit comes to work, the rules vary depending on the worker’s age andthe particular job that is involved. The minimum working age set bythe FLSA is 14 years. Rules also limit the number of hours worked byminors under 16. The FLSA goes ahead to ban the employment of minorsin jobs that are considered to be hazardous in nature. Such jobsinclude: driving, excavation and operations of machines. Theteenagers are also limited when it comes to the time that they areworking. For instance, minors are not allowed to work on a schoolday. The law does not permit any teen 15 years and below, to workbefore 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. however, a newspaper carrier is anexception. Furthermore, the teenager is not allowed to devote morethan 40 hours in a week to work related duties. Schooling teenagersbelow 16 years of age cannot work later than 7 p.m., and they canwork for a maximum three hours. Students aged 16 and 17 are notallowed to work after 11 p.m. on evenings or before 5 a.m. (Dol.gov,2015).
Suchrules are logical and can only be applied to minors. Teenagers arenot as strong as adults. They cannot work for many hours like theiradult counterparts. Teens are expected to focus much of theirattention to the education that they get at school. Working andstudying simultaneously may complicate matters. However, the lawallows the teenagers to work so that they can gain an experience ofthe real life. It would be very unwise to expose a teenager toextremely hard labor. That is why the law restricts minor fromworking in mines and farms.
Ateenager is different from an adult. The differences occur in theirways of thinking, judgment and making of decisions. That is whyspecial laws are set specifically for teenagers. Apart from the lawsthat I have highlighted previously, there are other laws that treatteenagers in a special way. For example, a teenager cannot marry atthe age of 16 without the permission of his/her parents. At sixteen,a teen cannot fully understand what marriage entails. His/her brainis not fully developed and one may not know how to handle the familylife.
Itis necessary for the government to set some special laws for theteenagers. The laws are meant to protect these young men and women.All teenagers seek recognition and they like being treated likegrownups. Many associate bad habits like drinking and smoking withadult hood. That is why millions of young people fall into the trapof drug addiction. The law against teenage drinking reduces thenumber of teenagers who engage in the vice. However, many6 break thelaw and engage in binge drinking. Facts show that drinking at a youngage is dangerous to health and well-being of the young people. Theconsequences can prove to be fatal. Teens go a step further to drinkand drive at the same time. Such actions have led many to theirdeaths. When it comes to driving, laws have been set. The lawsrestrict teenagers between the age of 16 and 17 from driving on theirown. Such a law helps to reduce the number of accidents that occur.Many teenagers are either in high school or college. They do focusmuch of their attention to studying and working hard for theireducation. That is why the government sets some specific laws togovern how such young adults should work. The laws are protective innature. They prevent the teens from working on extremely difficulttasks. Teenagers can marry at the age of 16. However, without theparent’s permission, a teenager can only marry at 18 or above. Itis good to appreciate the effort that the government puts in settingspecific laws for teenagers, since these laws act as a shield fopthem.
(NCIPC),N., (DUIP), D., & Prevention, C. (2015). TeenDrivers: Get the Facts | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center.Cdc.gov.Retrieved 10 April 2015, fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
Thewebsite outlines the facts about motor vehicle accidents.
Boston.com,.(2015). Why21? A Look at Our National€™s Drinking Age..Retrieved 10 April 2015, fromhttp://www.boston.com/health/2014/07/17/why-look-our-nation-drinking-age/rzK2FA5UYj0LgwJ5Ujrr7I/story.html
Theminimum drinking age act is discussed. Further, the effects of thelaw are highlighted.
Dol.gov,.(2015). U.S.Department of Labor – Find It By Topic – Youth & Labor – Table ofContents.Retrieved 10 April 2015, fromhttp://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/index.htm
Inthis website, it is clear that there are special laws that governteenagers when it comes to labor.
Dosomething.org,.(2015). 11Facts About Teens And Alcohol | DoSomething.org | America`s largestorganization for youth volunteering opportunities, with 2,700,000members and counting.Retrieved 10 April 2015, fromhttps://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-alcohol
The website lists some facts about the rate at which teenagers aredrinking. It also highlights the consequences of their actions.
Gerdes, L. (2008). Teen Driving. Farmington Hills: Gale.
Thebook helps one understand the laws that govern teenagers whendriving.
JACKSON,K. M., BARNETT, N. P., COLBY, S. M., & ROGERS, M. L. (2014). TheProspective Association Between Sipping Alcohol. Journalof Studies on Alcohol and Drugs,212-221.
Thejournal reveals how early teenagers are exposed to taking alcohol.
Report.nih.gov,.(2015). NIHFact Sheets – Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths.Retrieved 10 April 2015, fromhttp://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=24
Thereport reveals the relationship between drinking and road accidents.