children and caffeineShould children be restricted from caffeine use?why? is this a matter for government involvement? parental guidance? Explain

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The regulation of children's caffeine intake should, for the most part, be a parental matter rather than a government course of action.  Caffeine is dangerous for young children.  I think it is up to parents to weigh the risks and side effects for their child.  With that said, I do agree with the soda machines and caffeinated beverages being removed from schools.  The government is responsible for regulating our schools and I think students need to be presented with healthy choices while they are at school.  Of course, a parent should be able to send whatever they want to send their child to eat for lunch.  It is really the responsibility of the parent and not the government to determine what their children should be allowed to do.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the first post. Government regulation of caffeine would be impossible, let alone undesirable. Although caffeine consumption can apparently have some ill effects on children, the best way to discourage consumption of caffeine by children might be to publicize these effects very widely. Pediatricians should share such news with parents, and perhaps makers of products high in caffeine could place warning labels on their products, lest they be sued in the future for not having done so.

Here's a interesting link on this topic:

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

#6, I didn't know that! Very interesting information!

I agree with most posters here that government shouldn't be involved with regulating caffeine to children; it is the responsibility of the parents to decide what is and is not appropriate for their kids. However, I know from personal experience that children are more receptive to the addictive qualities of caffeine than adults. I would advise a warning label saying that Xmg of caffeine is appropriate for children under/over X years and leave it at that. Education -- not indoctrination or coercion -- is the best way to instill personal responsibility in parents.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parents, not the government, should regulate their children's intake of caffeine. Obviously, many parents do not take the initiative, what with the caffeine-laden energy drinks available that are now being consumed as if they were sodas--another caffeine-laden drink. I'm glad most schools have banned the sale of soda pop--there are no health benefits whatsoever in their consumption--and I have no problem with school districts restricting caffeine-heavy drinks as well.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a parent, I take initiative and limit my children's caffeine intake. For the most part, they only are allowed caffeine if we eat out (which is rare). The bad thing is my own addiction to caffeine (hypocritical, I know). Some parents would be offended if the government were to tell them what they could and could not give to their own children. On the other hand, some parents need to be told.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Considering how ineffective government has been at regulating the intake of illegal substances, I can't imagine how it could ever be successful at regulating the intake of legal, socally acceptable ones.  I like the above idea of not providing it in the public schools, but it should not be illegal or else we open up a pandora's box of other restrictions that make little sense to me.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just to provide an alternative view, can I point out that for children with ADHD, caffeine can be used medically to help calm them with great impact, and also provides an alternative to some of the harsher drugs that are doled out which have much greater side effects. Caffeine is certainly something that should be taken in moderation, but in some cases, it can be very beneficial.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't see any practical way that the government can regulate caffeine consumption in young people when it is a completely legal substance in many different products, including things like chocolate.  Smart parenting is what is important here. Parents know their children and their individual sensitivities to caffeine and should monitor and regulate how much they consume. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The government should not be involved in things like this.  What children eat and drink should be the concern of the childrens' parents.  It might make sense to regulate caffeine that is made available to children by the government (like in school vending machines) but other than that, the government needs to stay away from excessive regulation of people's private lives.

crf876 | Student

Allowing a child to consume or to not consume caffeine is a decision that should be left on the parent(s) alone. The government should not be able to have any involvement what-so-ever in the issue. Seeing as how there has been no studies that suggest a negative impact of caffeine usage then the decision should be made based on how the child reacts to it. In the time period we currently live in (chocolate, soda, ... coffee which is vital in late night study sessions) it is almost impossible to go through a day without consuming caffeine is some form or another. It is one of the most healthy and natural brain stimulants that one can consume and I, personally, have no objection to it.