Coffee: consumed by students, but not for kids

Mayra Salazar, reporter

The majority of students and staff drink coffee, but wouldn’t recommend it to children.

According to our RXlist, coffee has many safety concerns and side effects.  Coffee contains caffeine which works by stimulating the central nervous system, heart, and muscles. Even though coffee is safe for most adults, drinking more than six cups a day may cause “caffeinism” with symptoms of anxiety or agitation.  Also those who drink a lot of coffee may become dependent to the point where they develop withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking — just like a drug addict experiences.   Pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people who suffer from thinning bones, high blood pressures, glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, heart disease, bleeding disorders, or anxiety disorders should take precautions when drinking coffee and consumer less. It can lead to severe symptoms that in some instances lead to death.  Children can have caffeine (in appropriate amounts) but, according to Nemours Kids Health, too much caffeine can cause jitters and nervousness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, faster heart rates, and higher blood pressures.  And, according to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, children under the age of 9 should only be allowed about a half-a-cup of caffeine, then up to a cup until 12 years.  Coffee isn’t the only thing that has caffeine — cola, hot chocolate, and chocolate also include caffeine.

In a community survey, 74% of the people interviewed consume coffee.  58% of coffee drinkers were young adults, and 59% wouldn’t let their child consume coffee.

“I do not drink coffee. I never liked the taste, and coffee can discolor your teeth.  The caffeine could give you more energy, but it is also addictive. Starbucks lattes are more sugar than coffee.  We really don’t need more sugar in our lives.  But, I would rather see teens drinking a latte than those energy drinks, like Red Bull and Monster,” chemistry teacher Ms. Lisa Castello said.

High school students usually are the ones you see walk into class or to school in the morning with coffee, and often times it’s a large coffee.

“I don’t feel like I’m addicted to coffee. Usually, addiction is more like you can’t live a day without it, and like you just can’t seem to do normal day to day activities without something. I personally feel that yes I do enjoy coffee and it’s definitely something I won’t say no to when I’m offered it, but I can still wake up, go to school, and essentially live life without coffee. In other words, I don’t depend on it, but I do really enjoy it. I feel that most of the time I can go without coffee is about 1 week. Usually, I don’t experience negative side effects with coffee. I usually feel that my mood lifts, I feel more awake, and just with more energy whenever I drink coffee. Now, I’m not saying when I drink coffee I feel that I could fly and do everything, but it does pump me up to do things, such as my homework, cleaning, or any other responsibilities. My mindset changes when I drink coffee. I feel happier and more optimistic about things. Perhaps the only side effect may sometimes be a small stomach ache that only lasts about 30 minutes or coffee breath,” Morton West senior Carolina Herrejon said.

Mothers have strong opinions in regards to their children drinking coffee.

“I was never allowed to drink coffee before getting married. Once I got married, my husband got me addicted to it. He needs it in the mornings to help him wake up. I started drinking here and there including nights. I remember I drank it for like a week straight in the morning because I ran out of orange juice and then that was it. If I don’t drink coffee,  I get headaches and feel lazy until I eventually have to drink a cup. I don’t allow my kids to drink coffee. Maybe I’ll start allowing them when they turn 18.  Even though I think social media has made it so popular,” community mother Paloma Sierra said.

It’s good to monitor the effects that coffee may have on your body.

“I’m very sensitive to caffeine.   It gives me more energy, but my body can’t handle it.  I end up dizzy… it’s not a good feeling.  I don’t think kids should drink coffee at all, because kids have a lot of energy already.  Too much caffeine can cause issues such as increased anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, acid reflux, and sleep disturbance.  In very high doses,  it can be toxic,” community member Eliazyn Garcia said.