Monday, 25 January 2010

Drink till your heart’s content- apparently!

I heard on the news that there is a new plan to cut binge-drinking and reduce the amount of drunks lingering around town in the early hours of the morning. Apparently it involves eliminating ‘all you can drink’ offers, drinking games as well as free drinks promotions aimed at women. In addition, pubs and clubs will have to provide free tap water to customers as well as provide an option of using a large or small glass.

Some of these changes are to come into effect in April and others in October.

However, I personally don’t believe that any of these measures will prevent persons from drinking to the point of complete and total intoxication.

Drinking lifestyle
I have discovered since moving here, that alcohol is the focal point of a night out, especially for students. First they pre-drink before they leave home, and these drinks are bought from the local supermarket at a very cheap price, and then they will go to a bar before going to the club for another round of drinks. So by the time they get to the club, they have already consumed a substantial amount of alcohol, and will not hesitate to purchase drinks at the bar regardless of the price. Not to mention the peer pressure they face from other heavy drinkers.

So honestly, eliminating drink offers and drinking games will have little or no effect on the amount of drunken persons around. People will drink if they want to, and just because water is on offer at a bar, that doesn’t mean anyone has to request it.

And although it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is drunk, do you think bartenders really check to see if the person they are serving is drunk? Unless the person is completely intoxicated, I think that the constant flow of customers at a bar would prevent the bartender from spotting the drunks. His/her job is to serve as many drinks as possible to as many customers as possible, not spot drunks.

Police support
The police are fully supporting this new plan in an effort to curb alcohol-related crime. Last year alcohol-related crime cost the UK £7.3bn. This is because people become irresponsible when they are under the influence and officers have to spend too much of their time trying to control the confusion caused by drunks.

In my opinion, some of the only options for lowering the high number of binge-drinkers are raising the drinking age to 21/22 when people can be more responsible and banning supermarket bulk buys.

However, I don’t believe that this practice of total inebriation will stop anytime soon. It has become too important to the lifestyle of many people and unfortunately some people will continue this as they mature.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

More to life than iPods and Facebook- Are children caught in the madness?

After reading an article in the Leicester Mercury, I felt the need to add my views to this opinion.

The article was talking about the differences between growing up 10-20 years ago and growing up in this day and age. The main difference in my opinion is all the technological advancements.

As a 24-year-old, I have come across some stark differences between childhood experiences now and those that were characteristic of mine 10-15 years ago.

I grew up going to school and looking forward to lunch and break time so that I could run around with my friends and play tag. Hand games and jumping rope were also some of the highlights. We would literally rush through our lunch or in some cases, not eat it at all, just so we can physically play. Any conversations we stopped to have were generally about visiting each others homes on weekends, an extra-curicular activity we shared after school or something that happened in class.

Today however, things have changed. With the increase in technology, children spend lunch-time texting each other, listening to music on their iPods or playing games on their Nintendo DS.

In addition, recreational activities at home no longer involve playing house with dolls, fixing puzzles or board games like monopoly. Most girls today seem to love Hannah Montana and spend their time trying to be her carbon copy. And this involves playing her dance move games on Nintendo Wii, being part of her ‘learn-to-sing’ sessions on her website or learning to strike her poses on youtube. These are the things that appeal to children today. But has technology for children gone too far? Are children being deprived of important childhood developmental lessons because of this new technology?

Children today have fallen victim to the texting craze as well as instant messaging. Most of them have probably never even written a letter, bought a stamp or know where the post office is.

Facebook friends or enemies?
And of course, there is facebook. Unfortunately, children as young as 8-years-old now have a facebook account. Yes, I said 8-years-old! And this has caused more harm than good.

Back in my day when my mate and I couldn’t get along, we would argue at school or give each other dirty looks, but one of us would eventually apologise and we would be friends again by the end of the week. However, with the use of facebook, upsets and fall-outs between friends grow to mammoth proportions, and subsequently, more and more children end up being bullied on facebook. They get nasty messages on their wall and all of their secrets are exposed. And because of the networking nature of facebook, these upsets last far longer and then no apology could possibly fix it.

Expensive technological gifts for children?

In my opinion, children are no longer given the opportunity to be children. At Christmas, all I wanted was a nice toy/doll. Today Xmas gift requests range from things like an iPod or blackberry to a Nintendo Wii. What would a seven-year-old do with a blackberry?

I personally believe that all of this is too much. I think children are literally missing out on the best part of growing up with the use of all this technology.

If you ask me, children should be taken back to being children again, and reminded that they have plenty of time to grow up!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Online support for the people of Haiti

As you all would have heard, Haiti was victim to a vicious earthquake on Tuesday 13th January. This was said to be the strongest earthquake in more than two centuries to rock this Caribbean nation. Words cannot begin to describe the shock in the wake of last week’s tragic events in Haiti.

Across Haiti, dozens of buildings have collapsed and thousands of people are feared dead. This catastrophe has left residents shaken, with some unable to cope.

Moreover, some Haitians have expressed feeling very abandoned and alone at the moment, which is mainly due to a lack of aid supplies. The rescue effort and the promised help are now desperately needed, but so far the fresh supplies of water, food and medical equipment are still in short supply.

Little do they know that there are major relief efforts in progress. But I am not only referring to those massive relief efforts by governments and international authorities, but I must highlight the massive efforts being launched on social media sites like facebook and twitter, to name a few.

Social media platforms have been overloaded since last Tuesday with some groups formed to make donations of food and clothes, others to help overseas family members searching for missing relatives and some for condolence postings. These groups also provide members with up-to-date information on the situation in Haiti. For example:

Unfortunately, communication is down in Haiti, so residents would not be privy to these efforts, but they will be extremely beneficial to them later. So as much as residents may feel alone at this point, they are being heavily supported!
I would suggest paying a visit to these groups to see the worldwide concern and support for victims of this tragedy. It reinforces the practicality of using social media platforms in wide scale public relations plans. Furthermore, it demonstrates the rapid acceleration of social media as a fundamental communications strategy in any situation.