[This article was written in 2001.] America’s schoolchildren are being inundated with ads for About.com. About.com is a company that owns several pornographic sites and will be merging with Channel One’s parent company, PRIMEDIA, Inc. at the end of February or the beginning of March. The porn connection will be dealt with at a later date on this web site. What is of immediate concern is the incredibly irresponsible content on About’s “Teen” site that is being advertised on both Channelone.com and Channel One News.
Here is a sample from About.com’s Teen Advice site. Here the About guide, Mike Hardcastle, is giving advice to teens for being safe on New Year’s Eve. He gives advice to teens who make the “right” choice – not drinking, to teens who want to get “drunk”, and to teens that want to get wasted on drugs.
“12/26/00 – Party On (Responsibly)!
Whether you play it straight this New Years or decide to walk on the wild side, Teen Advice wants you to be safe. PC or not, here are some tips to help make the most of your evening – no matter how you opt to spend it. “
That is taken directly from About’s site. “walk on the wild side”?? What is this man saying to children? Do you want this advice directed at your child?
Here is more:
“If you decide to stay sober…Good for you! You have made the ‘right ‘choice. You have also made the most popular choice. Believe it or not, more teens will spend their New Year’s Eve sober than in any other state.”
This is the first sentence of the advice to teens who are not going to drink. Notice the About writer puts “right” in quotation marks. What is that telling children? It appears the writer is “winking” at kids and saying, “Being sober is not the only right choice you can make.” He appears to be making light of parents concern about drinking. “Not drinking” is what parents think is “right” but there are no absolutes. But if we too much of quotation marks, then lets get to some really irresponsible advice.
About then goes on to tell sober teens that they basically should be responsible for their friends who drink and take drugs. About advises that sober teens take the phone number of parents with them, find out about any medical condition of friends so they can be told to a doctor if a friend has to go to the hospital later in the evening.
“Get together with your friends in advance and arrange a “safety person(s)”. Carry a list of your friends home phone numbers and parents names. Get cell phone numbers and keep a list of where your friends parents will be spending their evening. When at all possible, know what drugs or drinks your friends have had and how much they have ingested. Know if your buds have any allergies or conditions that medical professionals would need to know about in an emergency. Consider carrying condoms or other unexpected safety essentials. “
If you think Obligation is making this up, please visit this site and read this dangerous nonsense for yourself. http://teenadvice.about.com/teens/teenadvice/library/weekly/aa122600b.htm Note: January 18, 2001 – About.com has rewritten parts of their articles. They also have a self-serving pop-up message greet you when you click on this link. Be assured that all our quotes from About.com’s articles on teens getting drunk and taking drugs are verbatim from the original article. Obligation provided a link to the original article so that there could be no claim of taking material out of context. About.com is very concerned about negative public reaction due to Obligation’s article. Even with the rewriting About.com did, reading these articles will be extremely upsetting to parents.
Here is the first sentence from About.com’s advice to teens who “Decide to get drunk”:
“You are not alone! Alcohol is the drug of choice for most teens who choose to get ‘wasted’.”
The author, of course, tells teens that they shouldn’t drink and that it is against the law (the minimum that any caring adult would say) but then goes on to give advice. Here are some gems for teens planning on getting drunk from About.com:
“Carry “slush money” and only use it for getting a taxi home if you need to. If you doubt your ability to hang on to your cash, consider handing this money over to the care of your “safety person” (see previous page).
Keep track of how much you drink and know what is considered a “safe” amount based on your age, weight and experience with alcohol. In other words, know your limit and stick to it!
In your wallet next to your ID carry a note with essential emergency medical information like; your medical insurance number, any allergies you suffer from, any medical conditions you have, your parents names and phone number(s), your full name and age, and the names and phone numbers of the people you went to the party with. Make sure that somebody who is sober knows that you have this note in your wallet. Clearly label the note “medical information”.
Give your friends advance permission to “tell all” about what you have ingested in the event that you pass out or need medical attention. Too often teens are afraid to get their friends in trouble and as a result do not fully disclose information that could save their life. Avoid this by telling your friends that it is OK to tell what you have had to drink if it looks like you need help or if a medical professional or police officer is asking.
Try to stick with one type of alcohol, mixing drinks can cause you to get drunker than you intended to or can cause negative reactions in your body.
Bring your own alcohol and when it is gone don’t drink any other alcoholic beverages. This allows you to set your limit when you are sober and your judgement (sic) is not impaired.
Don’t accept alcohol from strangers or from people you do not know very well.
If you have an open relationship with your parents, consider letting them know that you plan to be drinking. If you aren’t able to talk to them about things like this, consider telling an older sibling or other older relative.
Set a code question up with friends in advance that you will each use to make sure the others are OK. Use it when you think that a friend may be in a situation that they don’t want to be in. Make sure the question is not one that you are likely to use but that won’t seem out of place to others. Something like, “Are you in the mood for some chocolate?”, with “yes” meaning “Yes get me out of here!”, and “no” meaning “No, everything is fine.”.
If you are feeling depressed opt not to drink this time. There is nothing wrong with staying sober, even if most of your friends will be drinking.
Take comfort in the reality that most teens who drink do not get in to any major trouble. The worst things that happens to most teens who drink are getting a hang over and having a few regrets.”
If you don’t think this About.com Teen site can get worse, here is the advice for teens who planned on taking drugs.
“If you decide to try drugs… Be careful! Along with being illegal, drugs are unreliable. There are no guarantees that what you are being told you are taking is really what is going in to your body. “
Did this man tell kids to “be careful”? If you are amazed at this “teen” site, remember that About.com owns several hardcore pornography sites and that it will merge with Channel One’s parent company, PRIMEDIA, within two months. Then the relationship with Channel One News will be even closer than now.
Back to advice to drugged out teens:
“Make sure that somebody reliable (and preferably sober) knows what drug you think you have taken and who you got it from. Consider adding this information to your “medical information” note.
Give your friends advance permission to “tell all” about what you have ingested in the event that you pass out or need medical attention. Too often teens are afraid to get their friends in trouble and as a result do not fully disclose information that could save their life. Avoid this by telling your friends that it is OK to tell what drugs you have tried if it looks like you need help or if a medical professional or police officer is asking.
Don’t accept drugs from strangers or from people you do not know very well.
Don’t mix drugs or mix drugs with alcohol. It is too hard to predict the effects of this practice.
If you have an open relationship with your parents, consider letting them know that you plan to try drugs and what drug you plan to try (if you know). If you aren’t able to talk to them about things like this, consider telling an older sibling or other older relative.
If you are feeling depressed opt not to try drugs at this time. There is nothing wrong with staying sober, even if most of your friends aren’t.
Know that not as many teens do drugs as you think. Drug using teens are a minority and it is not uncommon for a person to say they have tried drugs when in fact they have not. If you decide to try drugs make sure it is for your own reasons and not because of what others claim to be doing.”
Obligation will soon report on the outrageous sexual advice About.com has for children when they “click over” to visit from Channelone.com or visit after seeing the commercials on Channel One News.
Did Channel One’s staff ever think about checking out this “Teen Site” before they advertised it to children? The recklessness at Channel One continues.
About.com’s Teen site has a link to a another site that has tips for helping to plan a party with alcohol. http://teenadvice.about.com/teens/teenadvice/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.beeresponsible.com/programs/prog%2Dprd.htm This site, run by Anheuser-Busch, gives advice like, “serve food when you serve alcohol”, “offer each guest one drink at a time”, and cut off the booze an hour before everyone has to go home. If About erases this link, which they should, the site is http://www.beeresponsible.com/programs/prog-prd.htm. This site is run by Anheuser-Busch. About.com has a link from its Teen site to this site even though it bypasses the home page that says no one under 21 is allowed into site.
Obligation has sent several emergency emails to Channel One and PRIMEDIA executives urging them to stop promoting About.com to children. So far, they have refused.