STOCKHOLM – Teenagers drinking, brawling, vomiting and passing out. It's a weekend ritual in many parts of the world that often begs the question: Where are the parents?
Police in the Swedish town of Vaxjo have put a new twist on that query with a hugely popular Facebook appeal to "parents with children in their teens."
In a 12-point list, patrol supervisor Scott Goodwin explains what officers do to keep binge-drinking youth in check on Friday and Saturday nights.
"1. Locate and monitor what they are doing in town late at night," the list begins. "Pour out the alcohol we find in their possession" is No. 2.
Other duties include stopping fights, cleaning out vomit from police cars, helping injured teens get medical attention or just to "hug them if they are afraid."
Then, he offers some advice for parents.
"If you help us with duty number 1 maybe we won't need to do anything regarding duties 2 to 12," Goodwin writes. "If you believe that the police are not doing enough to protect your children, even though the responsibility lies with you, please feel free to contact me with your comments!"
Goodwin, an Australian who worked at the Sydney Olympics before moving to Vaxjo with his Swedish wife, said the Facebook appeal had "created a bit of a stir" since he posted it Sunday. It has received more than 30,000 Facebook likes and some 1,300 comments, most of them positive.
It also seems to have resonated beyond Sweden: Due to popular demand Goodwin posted an English translation this week on the Facebook page of the Vaxjo police.
"I'm sure it's not just here. I'm sure it's all over the world," Goodwin told The Associated Press. "There are parents who don't care that much what their children are doing on Friday and Saturday nights."
Goodwin said he got the idea a few weeks ago following a phone conversation with a woman who was reluctant to come fetch her 16-year-old daughter in Vaxjo after she was picked up by police for underage drinking.
The drinking age in Sweden is 18 in pubs but you must be 20 to buy alcohol in state-owned liquor stores.
"Her mom said 'We live a fair bit out of town' and asked 'How drunk is she?'" Goodwin recalled. "That doesn't sit too well with the police."