Well, the studies are in – movies with drinking in them cause teens to drink at younger ages. To quell this potential threat to our society’s youth, let’s ban drinking in movies altogether. Better yet, let’s only allow G-rated movies to remain publicly distributed.
The question that has sparked debate for years: should the drinking age be lowered? Many answer yes or no for various reasons. A new study has shown that teens are more likely to start drinking due to watching it in the movies. The teens that start drinking early on are more likely to end up binge drinking later in their lives.
As reported by Health Day, “The study included more than 6,500 U.S. kids, aged 10 to 14, who were asked about their consumption of alcohol, and potentially influential factors such as movie viewing and marketing, their home environment, peer behavior and personal rebelliousness.”
During the study the percent of kids who drank alcohol increased by nearly double. Teens that started drinking more than five drinks in a row also rose in percentage.
Many kids watch their parents drink alcohol on a nearly regular basis. Those teens that had access to alcohol were more willing to begin drinking it. Neither of those factors led to binge drinking, only to beginning to drink alcohol.
Binge drinking has been shown to stem from influences in movies and advertising. Also, once one friend starts drinking more, others may feel obligated to keep up. Binge drinking is also frequently associated with rebellion for many teens.
Researchers came to the conclusion that teens that watched more movies involving alcohol were more likely to binge drink later. These teens were twice as likely to start drinking and 63% more likely to begin binge drinking than those teens that did not watch as many alcohol-related movies.
Alcohol in movies is depicted to be “cool.” Kids that view these movies are impressionable and want to fit in with their friends. Movies featuring alcohol were what 28% of the kids researched deemed as their influence to begin drinking.
Movie characters did not have to be the ones drinking the alcohol. Product placement also contributed to the start of young teen drinking.
Product placement for cigarettes in movies has been banned in the United States. Many agree that alcohol product placement should also be banned from movies. Half of all U.S. films have one or more alcohol brands showcased, regardless of the movie’s rating.
Parents need to educate themselves on the dangers of alcohol. Young teens do not understand the harm it can do to their bodies. Many would probably be more careful of underage drinking if they knew all of the effects alcohol has on their bodies.
But is banning the portrayal of drinking in movies really the answer here? Maybe if parents actually took the initiative in explaining the dangers of alcohol to children, they wouldn’t need to find a scapegoat like movies to blame.