By: Naomi Shaw
Prom is one of those legendary rights of passage that teens spend most of high school hyping up. A beautiful dress, a limousine, someone you like to slow dance with - these are the things that dreams are made of. In many ways, you’re right: prom is an exciting celebration and a whole lot of fun!
However, it is still very important to make sure you stay safe while you’re celebrating. Whether you’re hitting an after party or heading straight home when the last song plays, take extra care to make sure your special night is one you’ll remember fondly for years to come.
Prom Night Is Not Vegas
The lights are bright. The music’s loud. Everyone’s dressed up, and sometimes there’s even a casino game or two! But trust us, there are a few major differences between prom night and a night out in Vegas - most importantly, that what happens there does not always stay there.
Dangerous or illegal behavior at prom can have an impact on the rest of your life. You can be seriously hurt if you aren’t careful, and an arrest or expulsion from school can lead to your college acceptance being revoked. While it’s fine to let loose (#yolo), remember to keep the fun safe and legal.
Take Away The Car Keys
If you and your friends keep the night going at an after party, there’s a possibility that you’ll arrive somewhere where there’s alcohol. For many teens, this can be very dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third of all alcohol-related fatal car accidents occur during prom season.
Of course, the most sensible way to avoid a collision is to not drink at all. However, if you or someone you know does decide to drink, make sure they don’t have a chance to get behind the wheel. Take away their car keys or designate a sober friend to drive them home.
Remember: Someone’s Always Streaming
Remember when we talked about “safe and legal fun?” I know as soon as some of you read that, you thought, “I won’t get caught!” Here’s the thing: you live in the age of selfies and smartphones, and whether or not you see it, there’s always a chance that someone is recording you.
The last thing you need is a photo of you doing a keg stand in the background of someone’s Instagram post. Trust me, those kinds of photos never really go away, and they can cause trouble later on in life. Instead, try to keep the fun to an age-appropriate level.
Not Everyone Is Getting It On
I’m sure you’ve heard that prom night is the night to lose your virginity. But the truth is that, according to 2016 survey, only five percent of girls lost their virginity at prom. If you’re not ready, you shouldn’t feel pressure to do anything.
If you are feeling pressured by your date, it’s important that you have a strategy for getting somewhere you feel more comfortable. Talk to your friends so they know to have your back, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. If your date doesn’t respect your wishes, than he’s not someone you need to spend prom with.
Don’t Shun the Chaperone
Sure, having a parent or guardian at a prom after party sounds so lame. But if you need someone to keep things from getting too crazy (and you don’t want to be the party pooper all night), you can’t beat a good-old chaperone.
Don’t be afraid to talk honestly with your parents - or maybe an aunt, older sibling, or other authority figure you trust - about your prom worries. Not only will they be there to help you, they’ll probably have some nuggets of wisdom they learned from their own time at prom.
When you head to the prom this year, remember that the night should be all about fun - and that fun should be safe. Avoid drinking, don’t be reckless, and don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. There are many other special nights to come in your life. Play this one safe so you can enjoy all the others, too.