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Keeping kids away from R-rated movies may prevent early drinking
Date:4/25/2010

Middle-school children whose parents restrict access to R-rated movies are substantially less likely to start drinking than their peers who are allowed to see such films, a new study suggests.

In a study of nearly 3,600 New England middle school students, researchers found that among kids who said their parents never allowed them to watch R movies, few took up drinking over the next couple years.

Of that group, 3 percent said they had started drinking when questioned 13 to 26 months after the initial survey. That compared with 19 percent of their peers who'd said their parents "sometimes" let them see R-rated films, and one-quarter of students who'd said their parents allowed such movies "all the time."

The researchers say the findings, reported in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, underscore the importance of parents paying close attention to their children's media exposure.

"We think this is a very important aspect of parenting, and one that is often overlooked," said Dr. James D. Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The current findings build on evidence linking children's exposure to R-rated movies and onscreen "adult" content in general not only to early drinking but also to early smoking and kids' likelihood of having sex or behaving violently.

"The research to date suggests that keeping kids from R-rated movies can help keep them from drinking, smoking and doing a lot of other things that parents don't want them to do," Sargent said.

He pointed out that it could be argued that parents who restrict access to R movies are simply more careful in general -- keeping tabs on their children's friends or making sure their kids have no access to alcohol at home, for instance. However, Sargent and his colleagues accounted for this in the current study by asking students questions that gauge "authoritative parenting" -- which gauges the
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Contact: David Corriveau
David.A.Corriveau@Dartmouth.edu
603-653-0771
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Source:Eurekalert

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