Boozing it up on the big screen—could it cause teens to start drinking? Show Notes

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Young people who watch movies that depict drinking are nearly twice as likely to begin drinking themselves. That’s according to a new study from Dartmouth University.

Researchers led by pediatrics professor Dr. James Sargent tracked more than 6,000 10- to 14-year-olds for two years, and compared the movies they watched with their use of alcohol.

National Public Radio reports that over the course of the study, the number of teenagers who had started drinking rose from 11% to 25%, and the number of teens who began binge drinking TRIPLED from 4% to 13%.

Dr. Sargent is blunt about the impact of drinking on screen. He says:

"Alcohol use in the movies is part of alcohol advertising. Manufacturers pay to put their brands in films."

But while the Motion Picture Association of America has begun to take notice of smoking in films, the same isn't true of onscreen alcohol usage.

According to Dr. Sargent: "It's really not incorporated into the ratings at all. There's just as much [drinking] in PG-13 movies as there is in R movies."

Given that, he encourages parents to take a more active role in critically critiquing the images families see on television and in film

 Help your kids understand that advertisers are trying to persuade us to buy their products—including things like beer, wine and hard liquor.  And one of the ways they do that is by having actors use those products in TV shows and movies.

I’m Bill Maier for family-friendly, commercial free, WBCL.

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