R Rated Movies and Kids: Kids Who Watch R Rated Movies More Likely To SmokeParents beware!  Allowing your kids watch R-rated movies could make them as much as three times more likely to take up smoking, according to a new study.

Dutch and U.S. researchers suggest that allowing children to see the mature-rated films could trigger smoking both by exposing kids to actors showcasing the habit and by simply opening the door to more thrill-seeking risky behaviors.

“By being strict regarding R-rated movies, parents may play a part in preventing their children from developing higher levels of sensation-seeking and the associated risk for smoking,” said led Rebecca N. H. de Leeuw of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, who conducted the study.

” Through their restrictions, parents limit their children’s exposure to movie smoking, which makes them subsequently less susceptible to becoming a smoker,” she added. “Hence, creating awareness among parents about the role of smoking portrayals in movies on smoking in youth is highly warranted.”

“By being strict regarding R-rated movies, parents may play a part in preventing their children from developing higher levels of sensation-seeking and the associated risk for smoking,” lead researcher Rebecca N. H. de Leeuw of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

As part of their study, de Leeuw and her colleagues studied approximately 6,500 children between the ages of 10 and 14 for two years. Each of their subjects was randomly selected from the U.S. population during the mid-1990s, according to Peeples, and each was asked about the types of movies they were allowed to watch, whether or not they smoked, and their “thrill-seeking tendencies.”

“At the start of the study, only about one in three kids reported being completely restricted from watching R-rated movies by their parents. That proportion dropped to 12 percent after the two years,” Peeples said. “When the researchers looked at the corresponding rates of smoking, they found that full restrictions on R-rated movies cut the chances a kid would start smoking by two- to threefold.”

“Through their restrictions, parents limit their children’s exposure to movie smoking, which makes them subsequently less susceptible to becoming a smoker,” de Leeuw said.

Given the small percentage of parents that kept their children from watching R-rated movies, it is likely that few realize the impact movies may have on their children, suggest the researchers in the journal Pediatrics.

“Hence, creating awareness among parents about the role of smoking portrayals in movies on smoking in youth is highly warranted,” added de Leeuw.

Parents may also have an indirect effect by preventing their children from becoming drawn toward new and intense sensations or experiences in general, which could include lighting up their first cigarette, noted de Leeuw.

Although more research is needed to test the effects of parenting strategies, parents can limit their children’s access to R-rated movies. 

“This may prevent sensation-seeking children from watching R-rated movies without their parents’ knowledge,” she said.

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is Publisher/Editor of amotherworld. Follow her on Twitter @amotherworld and @lifeandtravelca.

Write A Comment