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The Super Bowl: A Teachable Moment

Posted by Informed Families on January 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM

Super Bowl.jpg

Super Bowl Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your children and celebrate one of America's greatest treasures: football.

However, even before kick-off, kids are exposed to harmful alcohol advertising. Did you know that the alcohol industry spends over $5 billion a year on advertising? Why do they do it?

Advertising Works

A National study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that the more kids are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they will engage in underage drinking. While the average number of ads a child is exposed to is 23 per month, each additional ad above and beyond that average leads to drinking 1% more. Furthermore, while the average spent on alcohol advertising per capita is $6.80, for each dollar spent above and beyond that amount, underage drinkers consumed 3% more.

Another study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics confirmed that such ads help lead them to have their first drink or if they are already drinking, to consume larger quantities.

Why It Matters

  • Underage drinking kills roughly 4,300 children each year.
  • The human brain is not fully developed until about age 25. Studies have shown that alcohol abuse during adolescence can negatively impact the teen brain.
  • It can impair memory, cause long-lasting brain changes and result in a smaller hippocampus—the part of the brain that handles memory and learning. A consequence of that is reduced academic performance.
  • Plus, kids who drink before age 15 and 4 times more likely to become alcoholics.

Make The Super Bowl A Teachable Moment

When you are watching the show, if your children are paying attention to an alcohol ad, make sure to point out some of the tools the alcohol industry is using to lure in new drinkers. By helping your children become more media literate, you can reduce the impact of the ads.

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following questions to ask your children when watching alcohol ads:

  • Who created or paid for the ad, and why?
  • What do they want you to do?
  • What techniques are being used to make the scene and the product look attractive? For example,
    • Who are the people in the ad and how do they look?  
    • What are they doing, and where? 
    • Does the ad try to associate the brand with fun, or sports, or humor? How?
    • Does the ad suggest that alcohol somehow makes the situation better?
    • How does this ad make you feel? Is this an accident, or did the advertiser intend it?
    • What message is the ad trying to get you to believe?
    • What values and lifestyles are represented by this ad?
    • What isn’t the ad saying? Does it show anything bad about alcohol? 

Obviously, you don't want to take too much time away from enjoying the game, but spending a little time on it can go a long way. We encourage you to continue to use this approach year-round.

Another great tool to help educate your children and test your own knowledge is NIDA's Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge.

Take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge Here »

Topics: underage drinking, alcohol, alcohol use, healthy kids

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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