Beer Pong, King’s Cup, Flip Cup. Whatever you call them, all drinking games share a common goal — to get their participants drunk. Party- goers who partake in drinking games consume a higher quan- tity of alcohol than they would otherwise.
“Drinking games, especially beer pong, make drinking seem a little more innocent because it is in the form of a game with many other people and not as hard alcohol,” a sophomore at a San Francisco private school who asked not to be identified, said. Girls are just as likely as guys to take part in drinking games, but are subject to greater consequences than men because women are more likely to be at risk for sexual victimization, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Underage drinking leads to risky sexual behavior, accord- ing to an article by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Playing drinking games has also been linked to heightened sexual aggression in a similar report by the Indiana State University Department of Psychology.
“Both men and women re- ported being taken advantage of sexually during or after play, including someone having sex with them when they were too drunk to give consent,” accord- ing to the report. “Greater alcohol consumption predicted more sexual experiences in women.”
A private high school junior said that her friends know drinking is dangerous, “but it doesn’t really matter to them because they think the consequences won’t happen to them.”
Adolescents who focus more on the positive experiences of alcohol are most likely to abuse it, according to a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. These teenagers’ mindsets shift to a more positive outlook on alcohol after the age of 13, according to the NIAAA report. Twenty- two percent of teenagers binge drink according to the Center for Disease Control.
Girls are more heavily affected by alcohol by boys, because their bodies process alcohol differ- ently. Weight, hormone levels and ethnicity all factor into how much alcohol affects a girl, ac- cording to Girls’ Health, a US Department of Health and Hu- man Services website.
“I’ve been in situations where people have had to go to the hospital,” an independent high school sophomore who asked not to be identified, said. “A friend of mine’s first time drink- ing, she drank too much and ended up having to go to the hospital.”
Not all teenagers are oblivious to the risks of such behavior.
“I think drinking games can be very dangerous,” the sopho- more said. “My friends and I don’t normally play them, ex- cept for beer pong. But I think even that can add to the amount of alcohol intake extremely and much more rapidly as well.”
Academic failure, drug use, and risk of developing depen- dency on alcohol are all possible side effects of underage drink- ing, according to the Johns Hop- kins report. But even more than lifestyle changes are at stake — the report states 5,000 people under 21 years of age die every year from alcohol related issues.
“My friends and I do know the dangers but we don’t care because we are smart about how much we drink,” the junior said. “Teens really think about what they’re doing before they drink for the first time. After a couple experiences, it is just something that happens. It’s not a decision because you’re comfortable with it.”