Schoolies is about to get underway across the country and one of the major locations, the Gold Coast, was hit last week with a spate of nearly 20 people under the influence of a mystery new drug with hectic hallucinogenic side effects.
It’s understandable for parents to be worried.
For many parents, it’s the first time they will be allowing their child to travel away with their friends and get their first real taste of a festival atmosphere and their new independent adult life.
It’s important in all families to have a quiet chat with your child about the potential risks and how to have fun but keep themselves safe and keep an eye out for their mates.
And, perhaps even more importantly, what to do if it goes wrong.
Share these tips from last years’ batch of schoolies to help your teenager have a thoroughly memorable time and come home in one piece:
- Make sure you have then necessary proof that you are a genuine year 12 leaver to get the appropriate event entrance wristband.
- Don’t lose your wrist band as they are inconvenient and expensive to replace.
- Get good travel insurance if you are attending Bali or Fiji Schoolies.
- Arrange to SMS your parents to check in every now and then, and do it – it will give them peace of mind and stop them constantly calling and embarrassing you when you’re with friends.
- Take sunscreen, lip balm and Berocca.
- Keep your phone charged.
- Always wear shoes!
- Book your accommodation in advance and confirm numbers and check-in times before departure.
- Don’t camp in public places or sleep in cars – it’s not allowed and you could be fined.
- Be sure your parents know the address and contact details of the place you are staying before you leave.
- As the registered guest, you are responsible for the actions of ALL persons in your accommodation so shut the door to freeloaders.
- Keep your accommodation secure at all times. Often theft or damage is not covered by insurance.
- Let your folks know when you have arrived safely and checked in.
- Get the cash for any bond or costs you’ve paid from your friends before the partying starts.
- Use the shuttle buses. They go exactly where you need to go and there’s no parking issue.
- If you are heading out, nominate a driver or leave the car at home.
- If you drive, don’t get stuck out after the driving curfew.
- Be careful about driving the morning after a big night, you may still have a positive blood alcohol reading.
- It all takes longer than you think so go to the toilet before you get in the queue or on the bus.
Drugs and Alcohol
- You will most likely be offered illicit and dangerous substances. Just say no. Why risk the future you’ve been studying so hard for, with one unfortunate choice?
- The paramedics treat overdoses differently depending on what drug has been taken. So, if you tell your friends what you are using, they will be able to look out for you and if it goes wrong, they can tell the Ambos what you took.
- Drugs are illegal and offenders caught with them at the events or at the accommodation are handed over to the police. Remember, a drug record will seriously limit your future travel prospects, as many countries deny entrance to visa applicants with criminal records.
- If you are drinking and suddenly feel really out of it – but in a way you have never felt before while drinking (you will feel really sick) – you have probably had your drink spiked. Get help ASAP, you need to go to hospital!
- Spiking drinks is a reality. Keep an eye on your friends.
- Go to toilets together and get help the instant one of you feels unwell.
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers, have only drinks you’ve opened or seen opened and poured and this includes water. Avoid ice cubes.
- If you leave your drink to go and dance, don’t go back and finish it, rather buy another drink.
- Take it slowly – drinking too quickly and not knowing your limits adds to the risk of making bad choices which might result in unsafe sex and accidents or hangovers that ruin your party experience.
- Carry an absurd amount of water – it will all get used.
- Don’t ‘pre’ too hard – it’s not worth wasting a night before it’s begun.
- There will be thousands of selfies and videos taken by others so you may be filmed at any time and you can be charged for behaviour captured in these images.
- The whole week is a high profile event and media outlets are looking for footage and article content. Protect your privacy by making sure your social media profiles are set to private.
- Think before you share because if you post something compromising the consequences can affect your future. If it doesn’t pass the Granny test, you might be better off not posting it.
- Take the photos at night, post them the next day.
- Don’t post compromising or embarrassing pictures of your friends – they’ll regret it and so will you when they return the favour.
- If something does happen that you feel the media should know about and broadcast for the greater good, it’s a good idea to get advice from your parents or someone who can safeguard your interests before you do.
- TV cameras bring out the idiot in some people so be aware that wherever the cameras are in the crowd, is probably an idiot infested zone and somewhere to be avoided.
- Plan your budget. Don’t forget you have to eat! Save some money for buying food.
- Prepare some food beforehand to take with you.
- You’ll spend more than you expect to on grog, late night food binges or just outright losing cash in the party zone.
- Don’t keep all of your money in the one place but do keep it safe if you are leaving cards or cash at your accommodation.
- Make sure you always have enough money for transport home. Keep a sneaky $20 tucked away in your shoe, your bra, even taped to the sole of your foot with a wad of duct tape!
Sex and Violence
- Be aware of the ‘hooking up’ competitions and other such antics that go on, and don’t become a target – or a player for that matter.
- Carry condoms.
- ‘There are heaps of older people in and around the events either wanting sex from you, wanting to pick fights with you, wanting you to join their religion or wanting you to buy something, stay away from them, nothing good comes of it.
- With so many people in a confined space, combined with drugs and alcohol, there’ll be fights. Walk away. It’s better to be having a good time again tomorrow than to cut your time short proving you’re right tonight.
- If you or your friends feel threatened, intimidated or you are harassed or assaulted, report it to the organisers, the police or the Red Frogs.
If it Goes Wrong
- Look out for the awesome Red Frogs; the legendary volunteer network that safeguards the young – they give out free water outside events to keep you hydrated and they’ll walk you home safely. They make great pancakes! Preload the Red Frog‘s number in your phone.
- Make sure you have the numbers of all of your friends, the numbers of their parents and the reception, owner or manager of your accommodation in your phone.
- The Police are there to help in any situation, ask for help before you really need it!
Have fun! Be safe! Look out for your mates!