Archive for November 2009
With all of this youth exposure to alcohol through the media, many parents feel that it is a major conflict with their goals of raising drug-free youth. Overall, parents express strong disapproval of the various advertising practices commonly used by alcohol advertisers. A recent survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) found:
- 2/3 parents say that seeing and hearing alcohol ads made teens more likely to drink
- 3/4 parents feel that alcohol companies are not doing enough to limit the amount of alcohol advertising that teens are seeing
The good news is that in a separate survey conducted by Washington State University researchers found that despite the strong media influence, parents play an important role in discouraging their teens from drinking. The study showed that parents who take a critical position concerning television programming usually pass that on and their teens are less likely to drink.
Help your teens see the fallacies of alcohol portrayals - discuss the untruths and the risks.
- Monitor their media. Restrict viewing to age appropriate hours. Place computers in areas of the home where you can monitor what they are doing. Listen to what they are listening to (no matter how painful it may be!) and screen their play lists. You cannot catch it all, but increase your awareness of what they are seeing and hearing. Research any new movies they would like to see or television shows they watch regularly.
- Develop "media literacy". Take advantage of teachable moments by examining the underlying messaging. Discuss what they are seeing and hearing. Help them to understand marketing strategies. Encourage them to analyze what is being portrayed and conduct a comparison to your family values. Help your teens develop media literacy.
- Pay attention to their behavior and appearance. Are they emulating what they see or developing a "brand loyalty"? It is never too late to step in and help them understand the influence of media on them.
- Monitor your own actions. Your teens are more likely to do as you do, than do as you say. Show your teen your media literacy by changing the channel or better yet discussing the context of the portrayal of alcohol in an advertisement, television show, movie, music video, etc. Pay attention to your reactions to brands you like or a message that appeals to you.
- Establish appropriate rules and monitor consistently. Determine what is acceptable entertainment in your family. Enforce and explain when violations occur. Compromise when appropriate and after thorough research.
This is what the researchers are saying.....what are you doing in practice? Share you ideas by leaving a comment!
On Friday, November 13th, I attended a wonderful symposium titled "Empowering Girls" hosted by Clemson University's Youth Learning Institute, Columbia College, and the SC Department of Juvenile Justice. It was a full day packed with great information, resources, research, and reasons to reach out to girls! One of the most interesting speakers was Dr. JoAnn Deak (former educator and current prevention psychologist and author), who spoke on brain development and its implications for parenting. Keep your eyes out for her upcoming book - The Brain Matters: A Middle of the Road Guide for Parenting and Teaching.
During lunch, the SHARP Sisters from Aiken, SC were brave enough to sit on a panel in front of 300 symposium participants! These middle, high, and college girls answered questions about boys, body image, beauty, sex, teen pregnancy, dating violence, and parents. When asked:
Q: What do you need from your parents to feel closer to them?
A: I need them to LISTEN first and the TALK!
That is a pretty universal statement that I have heard from both male and female teens. What does that mean to you as a parent? How do you respond to your teen?