Research shows that smoking, drinking and drug use often start when you’re a teenager. At that stage, children are especially sensitive to information about smoking, drinking and drug use. Images of this can therefore be especially harmful at that point.
It becomes normal
By seeing the use of hard drugs, abuse of soft drugs or alcohol, or smoking in films, television series or shows, children can start to see this as normal. If it’s portrayed often, or as something ‘cool’ and positive, it increases the chance that teenagers start using as well.
Setting an example
Many characters in film or television drink alcohol. When children look up to such a character, or if they recognize themselves in them, they can start to see this as something worth trying out. Especially when drinking is portrayed as something that only has positive effects.
Sex and drugs
Sexual behaviour in film and television is often depicted in combination with alcohol or drugs. There are some risks involved in this: teenagers can start to see the combination of booze, drugs and (risky) sex as something normal. Productions with these combined elements are rated 14.
Images: header Mad Men (Lionsgate), screenshot The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros.)