ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – With Super Bowl Sunday coming up, a new study in the journal Pediatrics warns that high school sophomores with drinking problems may have been influenced by television ads for drinking as early as the seventh grade.

“Younger adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages contained in alcohol commercials broadcast on TV, which sometimes results in a positive affective reaction to the ads,” the researchers wrote. “Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.”

Mike Boland, the Missouri State Chair for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says parents cannot turn off the TV during every beer commercial.

“Laugh at what’s appropriate; explain what’s not appropriate. Tell them the dangers,” he said. “The ads are what they are, they are advertising something, but the back message is what the parent has to be involved with.”

“Somewhere along the line I have to look at the realities of life, it’s something you’re going to have to deal with,” he added. “How you choose to deal with that and how you have that discussion, talking to children way before there’s a problem, is what I’m advocating.”

The study finds that young adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive message in alcohol advertising, but they are also taking in the message of how their parents handle alcohol and what they say about it.

“Have the discussion. Make sure you have the discussion with your children before too many ads get in,” Boland advises. “Talk about the dangers of drinking and driving. Show them the example. There’s so many things parents can do but mostly lead by example.”

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