Like many people, I consumed my fair share of alcohol in college. Now that I'm a parent and my own kids are approaching high school age, I have a decidedly more conservative perspective on the consumption of "adult beverages." The one thing I am convinced won't work is relentless lecturing about the many risks associated with drinking. (Of course, this still won't stop me from emphasizing these risks to my own children.)
What I have more faith in is peer-based advertising. To this end, the University of Minnesota is now running ads that were created by students for students. Rather than approaching the topic of drinking from a moral or health perspective, the ads instead address how drinking can ruin a person's reputation. (See the two ads to the right). One addresses how young women's reputations can be harmed, and the other shows how even nice guys can become "creeps."
Will these ads work? I don't know. But my "unlearning" instincts tell me that they'll be more effective than a bunch of old-timers moralizing about the evils of drinking and lecturing kids about how alcohol will harm their livers.
Remember, often, the way we see the problem is the problem–which is why older people should consider getting reverse mentors. We might just end up finding more innovative solutions to age-old problems.