Do ads for things such as alcohol or marijuana affect kids?
Alcohol advertising absolutely plays a role in underage drinking. While booze ads are restricted on kid-targeted TV shows, kids get an eyeful during other programming -- for example, sports broadcasts, billboards, and reality shows that glorify drinking, such as The Bachelor. In fact, according to one study, kids as young as 11 see ads for alcohol on a daily basis.
As for pot marketing, we're currently in the calm before the storm. The legality of marijuana advertising is still being worked out for the states in which pot is legal, but anti-drug advocates such as the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids warn that pot marketing soon will flood the airwaves. And though it's not technically marketing, the videos of celebrities toking up online contribute to a culture of tolerance.
It's tough enough raising kids to resist underage drinking when alcohol advertising makes booze look like so much fun. Parents will probably have a tougher time battling the influence of pot marketing, partly due to the growing acceptance of marijuana use.
Here's how to talk to your kids about alcohol and marijuana marketing.
Impart your values. Teens are still listening to their parents, despite much evidence to the contrary. Discuss what's important to you: good character, solid judgment, and belief in a bright future -- all of which are compromised by pot and alcohol use.
Encourage waiting. For some kids, forbidding might backfire, so focus on preventing them from starting to drink or smoke in the first place, delaying it as long as possible.
Look for warning signs. Studies show that drinking and smoking often are associated with other issues -- for example, social exclusion, school problems, and emotional instability. Keep on the lookout for things that might be affecting your kid in other areas of his or her life.
Pull back the curtain on alcohol and pot marketing. Kids and teens don't like to be tricked, and advertising is full of sneaky ways to get people to buy a product. Instead of lecturing, help your kids break down the ads to see how they try to influence emotions, choices, and behavior.