teenagers risk

by desc | Aug 12, 2012 | via: dc13

I have just watched 127 hours, which I had saved for that moment where there was nothing else to do and I was not in the mood to read. Basically when you bypass most of what you need to do in favour of the least involved “lean back” entertainment.

The reason I had not been overly interested in seeing this film made by Danny Boyle is that I am blatantly aware of the ending. I knew about the ending as soon as the film was near release. It was a bit like when watching the film Titanic, I wonder how it is going to turn out? Will they have a trouble free trip across the Atlantic? Will it be a gripping near miss and all get rescued?

However back to 127 hours, as someone parenting a child, in fact parenting boys (although I do know girls who are very adventurous and into dangerous sports and risk taking), I feel this film may deserve a mention for a completely different reason. Sure the ending is well known but the trauma, stress and context are not or at least they weren’t to me. In terms of teenagers at risk is your youth at risk?

There is a very strong emotionally driven message about personal safety consciously woven throughout the fabric of the film. There are risks and risk taking activities which are, not just appropriate but, needed for our development. We know that teenagers’ brains are re-wiring and spend some time in a format that makes their ability to assess risk and perform basic risk assessment woefully inadequate at times.

He showed a fantastically resourceful attitude and was incredibly adaptable in his catalogue and subsequent use of his resources. In itself this and the ability to keep your head together in a crisis is in itself a valuable lesson for any young person. He clearly had great strength of character to get himself out of that position is there a link between depression and risky behaviour? If so most young people who get themselves into these situations may not have the self belief to get themselves out.

The main character in the film handles this bluntly during the period of duress as he speaks to camera of the time anyone will take to find out he is missing. It is not about the fact that he has an independent streak of not communicating to anyone his intentions about where he is going, it is that he might not be reported missing until being late for work triggers a report to the police who won’t react for a 24 hour period. The question is would not turning up to work on one day create a question to the police or might it take 2 or 3. As he had been trapped for 3+ days before he was due to be at work – I am not sure this would have been in time to help. The location too was a major issue as he was truly off the beaten track and not likely to meet any others in that location.

This film would be fantastic for any teen old enough to handle the emotional trauma that goes with the hard lesson that underpins the film. Most of us struggle to teach our problem teenagers with their teenage brain about how to behave in a safe and responsible way. In my experience a lot of parents use the “do what you are told” method of teaching risk – “stop ! do not do that its dangerous” . While believing this is behaviour modification it tends to backfire. Certainly when I was a teen it forced me into a need to prove a parent wrong. Although I was not considered to have teenage problems I was a handful. I aim to handle this differently through my parenting development but that will be another post.

–Truly recommended and my 15 year old will get it this week.