“What parents may not realize is that children say parental disapproval of underage drinking is the key reason they have chosen not to drink.”
That’s the quote from Charles Curie, former Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) administrator at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which forms the basis for this beautifully conceived and illustrated campaign from Utah. But what does it mean?
According to recent American data, underage alcohol use is down overall, but 63.5 percent of 12th-graders, and 26.9 percent of eighth-graders reported past year use of alcohol in 2011. Binge drinking was reported by 6.4 percent of eighth-graders, 14.7 percent of 10th-graders, and 21.6 percent of 12th-graders. (Marijuana use, however, is rising.)
So the kids who do not choose to drink do so because their parents told them not to. What about the kids who did drink, and whose parents forbade it? Or the ones who drank without having such rules?
While it’s a great idea for parents to talk to kids about alcohol, drugs, sex and other risky behaviours, the cause-and-effect of this campaign’s overly-simplistic message is just not there. There are no comparisons, no control groups… just anecdotes about kids who don’t drink. It’s a combination of the logical errors of confirmation bias and “survivorship” or selection bias.
Let’s face it: This is another abstinence campaign. And as a parent I “just say no” to such unrealistic social marketing.
The ads are still cool, though. See two more after the break.
Ads of The World