More Minn. teens playing it safe (or fibbing about drinking, smoking)

  • Article by: Jeremy Olson , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2014 - 6:13 AM

Either today’s teens are taking fewer illicit risks, or they’re getting better at fibbing about it.

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  • Comments

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jackpinesavJan. 18, 14 7:07 AM

These surveys tend to be accurate and give a broad picture. Remember....kids watch the adults around them to learn about appropriate behavior.

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mnavariceJan. 18, 14 7:29 AM

Good for them.

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swiperJan. 18, 1410:15 AM

Your headline about fibbing is condescending and offensive. You don't say such things about polls of adults that you run in this paper. "Oh, those adults, they must be lying today!" Most surveys of this type have scales that address issues of honesty, random answers,etc. and questionable surveys are generally removed from the analysis. Cheap shot

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melspen74Jan. 18, 1410:33 AM

Your comments about "fibbing" are totally out of place. Give some respect to the students. Stick to the facts and report the results of the survey and the interviews. Put your other comments on the editorial page.

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dn1970Jan. 18, 1410:35 AM

I couldn't agree more with swiper, very condescending and offensive!

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Mark27Jan. 18, 1410:41 AM

My suspicion in there's a lot of fibbing going on in the surveys, partly because the kids have caught on that answering "yes" means heavier-handed crackdowns on their behavior. In general the trendlines are heading down to an extent for this sort of stuff, but what's not heading down is their BMI indexes. It's folly to think that we can socially engineer a generation of puritans. We're fallible human beings and there's always gonna be a moving target of "crutches" standing in the way of the wholesome ideal that so many people waste so much effort trying to mandate.

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ivaro3Jan. 18, 1410:51 AM

Yes there is a chance they are lying, but give them the benefit of the break. Or, do the same with adult surveys an assume the worst. One reason I didn't lie as an adult was because, as a teen, the adults in my life trusted me and for the most part, showed me how to live a decent life.

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luckylager63Jan. 18, 1412:01 PM

On a personal level, I have three teenage boys and am amazed at the maturity level that their groups of friends display. I grew up in the northern suburbs in the late 70s - early 80s. I know what we were into in those days, even the "good kids". I totally believe that kids these days are making better decisions when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Good for them!

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Mark27Jan. 18, 1412:39 PM

luckylager63, with all due respect, it seems like every time I read about a teenager who dies from drunk driving or a drug overdose, the prevailing sentiment by those who knew them is how shocked they were because the deceased was "a good student" who "never really partied much". It seems as though today's kids are a lot better at fooling their elders and even their classmates when stealthly doing the things kids have been doing for generations. Maybe at some level there is less experimentation among kids today, but the premise that we're only more antismoking or antidrug PSA away from a generation of modern-day puritan children defies the very nature of adolescence.

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foreseer2Jan. 18, 14 1:03 PM

The article itself is very good, but the chart (not included in the online version), has a serious error. It say that 26% of female students and 19% of many students have ever been bullied due to physical appearance. Actually, this statistic is for only the last 30 days. If students had been bullied for three months ending in November, they would accurately say they weren't bullied in the last 30 days. In other words, the chart perhaps unintentionally minimizes the problem of bullying by misrepresenting the data. Please issue a correction. It should be noted the survey does not ask if students have ever been bullied, and interesting, doesn't determine whether students have been bullied have 1) told anyone about i5, 2) gotten any help from friends, parents or school officials, 3) done anything dangerous because of the bullying (e.g. have suicidal thoughts) or 4) believe that the intervention of others resolved the problem. In other words, these questions simply confirm a problem we already knew existed, but doesn't report if anything is really being done to reduce the problem. Whether a student is doing poorly academically, being picked on, doesn't have friends, has a poor relationship with parents and teachers or has mental health or chemical use issues (all issues covered in the survey), the issue is not knowing some kids have a problem, but determining whether they see evidence that anyone is paying attention and helping them.

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