Monday, April 26, 2010

New Study Finds Strong Link Between R-Rated Movies, Underage Drinking and Tweens

I guess this is a bit self-serving, but here's further reinforcement for me for my "strict mom schtick": a new study from Dartmouth finds that middle schoolers whose parents forbid them from watching R-rated movies are far less likely to start drinking early - and the study took in account other parenting decisions. According to the study, "the movie effect is the over-and-above-effect" over parenting style when it comes to middle-schoolers who tried drinking versus the "barely 3% who tried a drink". Notably, it appears to be the repeated exposure to R-rated movies that causes these outcomes, not the once-time viewing.

Phew! It's nice to have some positive backing for our unpopular (at times, but not always - secretly, we think our tweens like having us as an "out") parenting stance (or, as my tweens put it, "zero-tolerance on R"). And it's tough - a lot of the movies that our tween daughters' friends regularly discuss during lunch or afterschool are R-rated (Kick-Ass stars tween superheros, The Runaways features Twilight star Kristen Stewart and child actress Dakota Fanning, and the new Twilight movie Eclipse could very well be R-rated too - and this is just a sampling based on what's out this week).

What amazes me is that even in the same all-girls school that our tweens attend, parenting views on what is permissable for tweens to watch vary SO WIDELY. Certainly, every family has its own values, but when I see an R-rating, that means that the movie theatre requires the parent to accompany the minor into the theatre - so it means that parents are walking their middle school age daughter into see The Runaways because she's a Kristen Stewart fan. Are tweens really ready to digest/process the very mature themes of addiction and sexual exploration even if this film provides an accurate and riveting portrayal of the glam rock movement in the 70's? In other words, aside from how valuable/worthy a story the film tells, some content is still inappropriate even for middle-schoolers.

Lest I come across as a prudish tyrant, despite our stated "zero tolerance" policy, I'd like to think that should a certain film REALLY be worth viewing before later their teen years (and I'm going to pull a Justice Stewart: "I'll-know-it-when-I-see-it here), we'd at least consider it allowing it (full disclosure: in our case, we permit the girls to see Bend It Like Beckham when we wield the Mute button and in some VERY heavily edited instances, Glee).

With sleepovers and group outings to the mall rampant during the middle school years, I'm not so naive as to believe that I have total control over what my girls view/hear/witness. Far from it. But, as their independence grows, I'd like to think that I'm recording that little voice in their heads letting them know that somethings may not yet be appropriate for them - and that that little voice gives them pause to consider their choices with a bit more analysis than pure peer pressure.

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Anonymous said...

Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anonymous said...


Ms. Twixt said...

Thanks so much for your feedback! We love comments!

Laura Beth Susanne Virtue said...

how dare you say that it's inappropriate for a child to see rated-r movies! I let my 10 year old see whatever she wants! I DONT CARE IF SHE SEES A PENIS(?)!
( . )( . ) boobies

LAWD said...


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