Society, as a whole, automatically assumes that all eighteen year olds are mature enough to be considered adults. If this is the case, why are eighteen year old “adults” not considered old enough to go to a bar and drink. How is it that eighteen year olds, fresh out of high school, are mature enough to sign up to get sent away from their families to fight in wars. Eighteen is not mature: but who’s to say when someone is actually mature? People develop at their own pace, it does not make sense to put everyone into categories by age group because not everyone in that age group is at the same maturity level.
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Studies have proven that the current drinking law in the United States does not prevent underaged drinking, currents drinking laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking across the country. “Forty percent of college students, ages eighteen through twenty three have shown signs of alcohol abuse and/or alcohol dependence” (“College presidents seek debate on drinking age.”). That does not include every college across the United States or all of the teenagers (eighteen through twenty three) that did not enroll in college at all, the number of young adults and drinking problems is much higher than what researchers have found in a small quantity of teenagers throughout America. Society has drilled into our minds that twenty one is when people are mature enough to drink but research shows that twenty one year olds still drink just as irresponsibly as an eighteen year old high school student does.
There is actually not much of a difference in maturity between eighteen and twenty one. There are actual federal records that prove this statement. One hundred and fifty seven people ages eighteen through twenty three drank themselves to death proving there is not much of a maturity difference. You would assume the older and more ” mature” the person is the more responsible when they drink which is obviously not the case. Recently there have been “five hundred thousand injuries and one thousand seven hundred deaths in just one year due to people drinking between the ages eighteen through twenty one” ( “College presidents seek debate on drinking age.”).
Approximately “one hundred eighty thousand eighteen year olds enlist in the American Armed Forces per year” (joining the military). Why does society assume that an eighteen year old is mature enough to understand the life or death decision of going to war? These soldiers have no control over where they are to be sent to or for how long. Young soldiers do not see the future consequences to joining the United States military.
Few soldiers never see war while they are serving but for the ones that do it causes lots of psychological disorders such as post traumatic disorder, or traumatic brain injury. Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Most veterans that suffer from PTSD experience night terrors, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder also have the tendency to avoid certain situations that could possibly bring back the trauma they desperately are trying to forget. More than three million veterans are diagnosed with PTSD per year and will have to suffer with this disorder for the rest of their lives. Traumatic brain injury or TBI is a brain dysfunction that is caused by an outside force such as a nearby bomb explosion or a violent blow to the head. Veterans that suffer from TBI often have headaches, seizures, dizziness, ringing in their ears and speech difficulties. These veterans often times have problems that are not easily noticeable because it is all cognitive. TBI sufferers have sleep and visual disorders that are irreversible and these veterans will never get a break from this very harsh and very unmerciful brain dysfunction. More than two hundred thousand united states veterans are diagnosed with traumatic brain injury per year. How is it that Americans thinks it is okay to send our youth to a foreign country to defend our freedom and put themselves in a life or death situation with a gun in hand but can not be in their own native land that they risked their lives for with a beer in their hand? America’s youth does not realize that enrolling in the military regardless if they go to war or not makes them more vulnerable to mental disorders not including PTSD and TBI. Not only does it does it make their more vulnerable to mental disorders but they are more likely to commit suicide because of the harsh conditions they are put in and because of the awful things they have to deal with. They often become dependent on alcohol or drugs to try and cope with the memories and images permanently engraved in their minds.
In conclusion, I feel that America as a whole should reconsider the age of maturity. Not saying that all eighteen year old teenagers are incapable of making wise decisions but that the majority of our youth, ages eighteen through twenty one, are expected to be mature and are sent off into the real world; most of them not having a clue what they are getting themselves into. Some teenagers are desperate to join the military for the free education and the benefits but do not understand the consequences that come along with it. If eighteen is too young to drink a beer then eighteen is too young to sign up to risk your life.
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“College presidents seek debate on drinking age.” Modern Brewery Age, 25 Aug. 2008, p. 1. General OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA209904006&it=r&asid=cf0f93f12265d8dcdf0dea9c8a628d9e. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.
“- Joining the Military.” – Joining the Military – Military.com, www.military.com/Recruiting/Content/0,13898,062006-who-joining-marines-today-myth-fact,,00.html?ESRC=recruiting.nl. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.
“Kids today and their negligence to vote.” UWIRE Text, 13 Oct. 2016, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=PROF&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA467440428&it=r&asid=b7706d28fe36ae9a650061919ef11777. Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.
Raloff, Janet. “The dangers of vaping: teens are falling for flavored e-cigs, but the vapors they inhale may be toxic.” Science News, 11 July 2015, p. 18+. Research in Context, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=MSIC&sw=w&u=j020902&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA421769268&it=r&asid=68c8c2598405c9859f34e25925b2bf3d. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.
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