iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Eileen Singh
Chandigarh, October 10, 2012
To save the Gyandeep Model High School, Sector 20, from shame, the four students caught drunk on school premises have been expelled.
This is not the first incident in the city where students have been found under the influence of alcohol during school hours. However, the pertinent issue that needs to be addressed is the reason behind children suddenly taking to drinking?

According to child psychologist Monica Sandhu, the reasons behind children taking to drinking include parental neglect, promotion of alcohol in movies and songs and peer pressure. "Family environment or parental neglect is one of the major reasons that has been influencing the behaviour of children since ages. With exposure to media, where Hindi and English movies are showing drinking and smoking and Punjabi songs are promoting it, children have started to look at drinking as a style statement," she said.

Manjit Madhra, principal, Doon International School, Mohali, said: "The environment that we give to our child, the way he idolises the family and elders and family values are extremely important for his upbringing. Nowadays, money is being given in abundance to children and owing to their busy schedules, parents are not able to keep a tab on where the money is being spent."

Countering the popular contention that Punjabi song lyrics were influencing children in a major way, youth icon and popular Punjabi singer Gippy Grewal said: "There are very few songs related to drinking. The major problem is that now children have access to Internet and all kinds of music. I have studied from GMSSS-16 and I never had money for eating a samosa even. How could we afford drinks? But parents are now giving too much money to make up for not being able to devote time and this is what is driving the young generation towads such ills. Parents need to keep a tab on their child's daily activities."

The fact that alcohol is easily available is another factor adding to the problem. "We have Vodka at our slumber parties and I think it's cool, as no one can smell liquor on us in the morning," said a class 10 convent school student on condition of anonymity.

"The authorities need to post a cop outside each outlet to keep a check on the sale of liquor to kids," said Rakesh Singh, a parent of class 10 student.