Children are at a lower risk of smoking and drinking if their parents monitor and set limits on their movie viewing.
As reported in the November 2006 issue of Pediatrics, we found that pre-teens were much less likely to be at risk of smoking or drinking if their parents restricted them from watching R-rated movies and consistently monitored what movies their children watched.
We surveyed 2606 child-parent pairs from NH and VT. Children were between 9 and 12 years of age. We asked children about parental rules regarding R-rated movies and how often their parents engaged in specific behaviors to monitor their movie viewing. We also asked children whether or not they tried smoking or drinking alcohol and if they thought they would try it under certain conditions.
Even after taking into account child and parent characteristics, including age, gender, parent smoking, parent education, and parental monitoring of non-media related behaviors, we found that:
- Children were 46% less likely to be at risk of smoking and 41% less likely to be at risk of drinking alcohol if their parents did not let them watch R-rated movies compared to those who were allowed to watch R-rated movies without a parent.
- Children were 28% less likely to be at risk of smoking if their parent always co-viewed R-rated movies with them compared to those who were allowed to watch R-rated movies without a parent.
- Children were 25-39% less likely to be at risk of smoking if their parents always accompanied their child into the video store to rent a movie, always wanted to know what a movie was rated before allowing their child to watch it, and always checked to see what movie their child might be watching at a friend’s house.