Help Your Kids: Nix The R-Rated Movies

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Middle school students are less likely to start drinking if their parents restrict access to R-rated films, suggests a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The Study

A look at almost 3600 middle school students in New England found that those whose parents never allowed them to watch R-rated movies were unlikely to take up drinking in the next few years. 3% of those children reported starting to drink within the next 13 to 26 months, compared with 19% of those who said their parents sometimes let them watch R movies and 25% of those who responded that their parents let them watch R movies all the time. This relationship held true even when the children's overall parenting styles were taken into consideration.

Other studies have found a relationship between exposure to R-rated movies and adult content and early smoking, sex, and violence.

Why Is This Important?

The risk of developing alcoholism and other alcohol-related problems is significantly greater among adults who reported having their first drink before age 21, and greater still among those who began drinking in middle school. This study offers an important new parenting tool that may help you reduce your children's chance of developing an alcohol problem in the future. Active parenting, such as monitoring what your kids watch on TV and film, can help prevent risky behaviors that can lead to future problems.

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