03 Feb 3 Tips for Preventing Underage Drinking During the Super Bowl
Nearly synonymous with the words Super Bowl is alcohol. From watch parties to highly anticipated commercials, it’s everywhere. Most parents don’t think twice about the alcohol exposure, but it can have serious, unintentional consequences on teenagers.
Research shows that teens who are exposed to Super Bowl commercials are more likely to drink underage and engage in binge drinking, according to JAMA Pediatrics.
Also alarmingly, alcohol advertisements have increased 400 percent in the past 40 years, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin.
Alcohol marketing wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry if it didn’t work.
Unfortunately, changing alcohol advertising laws is a very complex issue that won’t be resolved soon. However, there are easy things that parents can do to help prevent underage drinking.
- Don’t provide alcohol to minors
We encourage parents to not purchase alcohol for minors and to keep their alcohol out of reach. If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, have the alcohol at a single location that you can monitor to make sure alcohol doesn’t end up in the hands of anyone under 21.
- Talk to your kids about underage drinking
Talking about alcohol doesn’t have to be a scary, one-time conversation. Be intentional and talk to your kids early and often.
Parents often think that their kids don’t listen to them, but research continually shows that teens say that when their parents disapprove of underage drinking they are less likely to drink. Parents continue to be the number one reason they choose not to drink underage.
Hopefully that empowers parents to start the conversation about underage drinking, if they haven’t already. There are many ways to bring up alcohol in everyday conversations that doesn’t have to seem so big and scary.
If you’re grocery shopping for the Super Bowl, explain why the beer you put in your cart is appropriate, in moderation, for someone over 21, but not them.
As young as seven, you can have basic conversations about how alcohol hurts the growing brain. Explain to your younger children that they work so hard in school to learn and grown their brain, and that alcohol can actually hurt that. They don’t have to understand the brain science behind why the legal drinking age is 21 to understand that it would hurt their brain and you love them too much for that.
If you have teenagers, you can explain that alcohol has dangerous effects on the developing brain and the brain doesn’t finish developing until the mid-twenties. There are also other unintentional consequences that come from underage drinking, such as an increased risk for physical and sexual assault, drinking and driving and accidental pregnancies.
During the Super Bowl, talk to your kids about the commercials they see. Explain that there’s a reason so many have cute puppies or horses. The advertising companies want to associate something that everyone loves, no matter how young, with their alcoholic product. Explaining how the commercials can target them can help make your teens resilient against them.
- Set a good example
Your kids are watching you. If they see you keeping your alcohol out of reach, setting firm boundaries against underage drinking and drinking responsible yourself, it will help them refrain from underage drinking.
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