3 minutes reading time (611 words)

To Beware of 'Project X' Parties

If you haven’t heard of Project X, you better get up to speed, because your tweens and teens surely have. Project X is an anything goes-type teenage movie where three “unpopular” high school students gain instant fame, thanks to alcohol, ecstasy, social media and an out-of-control house party thrown while one boy’s parents are out of town.

You may be thinking that this is probably just another one of those teenage movies where youth push the limits in the name of ‘fun.’ This movie goes way beyond fun. What should have never even made it to the big screen has quickly spilled over into real life, with real-life consequences, as teens across the nation attempt to recreate Project X with their own network of “friends.”

These Project X parties aim to be big in number (easily attainable with the help of social media) and massive in the destruction of property (resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage in some cases). Alcohol and other drugs are also an expectation at Project X parties, already landing many teens in jail, if not the hospital. In Houston, a Project X-inspired party turned deadly, as one teen was shot and killed when other party guests began randomly firing into the crowd. This isn’t innocent ‘fun,’ this is a parent’s worst nightmare.

This is the time of the year when parents must be extra vigilant. As the school year winds down, the tween/teen party scene starts kicking into high gear. While the majority of these gatherings are not likely to be as over-the-top as the one featured in Project X, many will involve underage drinking and other drug use, putting everyone’s health and safety at risk.

Whether it’s being called a Project X party or not, if you hear or see indicators of such gatherings, we encourage you to follow in the footsteps of a proactive parent who caught word of a local Project X party being planned, then did his part to protect not only his own children, but the other youth in his community.

This parent began by making it a ‘teachable moment’ for his children. He got the conversation started by asking his kids what they knew about Project X, then reminded them where he stood on underage drinking and other drug use. He talked with them about the potential real life consequences (legal, health and safety issues) that are involved with substance use and the risks his kids could face if they were involved in damaging other peoples’ property. The dad informed them that even if they aren’t drinking, smoking or using other drugs, they stand a lot to lose simply by being present at one of these parties. And finally, he reminded them that if they ever find themselves at a gathering that develops into such a party, they can contact him and he would be there to get them right away.

Next, instead of simply putting a halt to his kids’ night, this father helped them make alternative plans that were fun, yet safe. He then encouraged his kids to contact their friends and discourage them from attending the party.

This dad then networked with other parents to alert them about the party, as well informed local law enforcement. Because of the simple actions taken by a proactive, hands-on parent, this particular Project X party fizzled out before it even got started.

We encourage you follow this dad’s lead and to do your part to help prevent the real-life consequences that aren’t depicted in Hollywood movies.

For talking points on the legal, health and safety issues of underage drinking, click here.

Sources: Project X. ABC News.
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