Study links R rated movies and teen drinking

A study released in the May issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggests children whose parents restrict access to R rated movies are considerably less likely to try alcohol than peers of the same age who are allowed to see restricted films.

As seen in this interview, John Knight, MD, director at the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CeASAR) at Children’s Hospital Boston isn’t surprised at the study’s findings.

The study followed over 3,000 middle schoolers (ages 10-14) and compared the drinking habits of those whose parents who let them watch R films and those who said their parents forbade them to watch age restricted movies.

Out of all the kids surveyed, only 3 percent of those who said their parents “never” let them watch R films had started drinking. A very small percentile when compared with the 19 percent of their peers who had tried alcohol and said their parents “sometimes” let them see R rated films, and the 25 percent of the age group who’d said they’ve tried alcohol and described themselves as permitted to see R movies “all the time.”

While the study was specific to the correlation between teen alcohol use among those who had parental permission to watch age restricted films and those who weren’t, the findings could likely be applied to the influential power that all screen media can have on younger children and teenagers in regards to drinking.