Teens in Europe who watch movies with drinking scenes in them are three times as likely to binge drink, says a new study published in Pediatrics.
There’s no shortage of movies made to attract teens, like Superbad or recently released Chronicle, that feature scenes of high school parties and free-flowing alcohol. In February, we told you about a study of US teens that found, “… children who watch movies with drinking scenes are more than twice as likely to try alcohol, and the rate actually tripled for teens who moved on to binge drinking …”
Now we learn that German researchers looking at more than 16,000 European teens found that those exposed to movies with drinking scenes also were more likely to binge drink themselves. Health News reports, “10 to 20 percent of participants with some of the lowest movie-related alcohol exposure had binged, compared to about 40 percent who had seen the most scenes with alcohol.” In fact, 27% of those surveyed said they had engaged in binge drinking, which is drinking five or more alcoholic drinks at one sitting.
Have these studies proven that movies are directly to blame for the binge drinking? Not necessarily. The researchers say it’s hard to say which came first — the drinking or seeing the movies with drinking scenes — but they still believe there is a link.
Those who’ve studied this problem say the best way for parents to tackle dangerous teenage drinking is to model good behavior when it comes to how much they drink, and also to watch movies with their kids and have discussions about what happens in them.