On Feb. 6 we, the Youth Advisory Council of Magnolia High School to the Wetzel County Coalition Against Drug Abuse, participated in the "Big Bowl Vote". The Big Bowl Vote is a student questionnaire made available to middle school and high school students around the country used to assess the impact of advertising on youth. Through a simple two-question survey, we were asked about the commercials that were aired during the record-breaking 111.3 million person-viewed Super Bowl. We were asked to share our impressions on what advertisements we remembered and which commercials were our favorite. After the votes were tallied from across 42 states, the research shows that the alcohol commercials made the top four most remembered and most favorite commercial categories. We believe this is information that not only researchers and lawmakers need to be aware of, but also every parent in our community and elsewhere. Research shows that the more youth are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to drink (drink to excess and drink more often). Research plainly shows that even though parents and peers have a considerably large influence on a young person's decision to drink, alcohol advertising and marketing does also.
In response to the results we have gained through in completing this valuable survey, we encourage parents to take action and engage in conversation with their children about what they are being exposed to when it comes to alcohol marketing and advertising. After all, children who are media literate can look and listen with a conscientious eye and ear and make important healthy lifestyle choices. We encourage parents to ask the following questions of their middle/high school-aged child the next time they are watching a TV show with them:
Who do you think created this commercial?
What techniques did they use to get your attention?
What do they want you to do after seeing their message?
Would this be a healthy choice for you?
How do you feel about it now?
According to Ohio's Drug Free Action Alliance organization website, nearly 8,000 youth ages 12-17 drink alcohol for the first time everyday. We want you, as parents, to arm yourselves with the most knowledge possible so your child doesn't become part of that statistic.
Youth Advisory Council of Magnolia to the Wetzel County Coalition Against Drug Abuse
Brandi Murray, Wetzel County Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator