A new study has shown that middle-schoolers who watch R-rated movies are more likely to take to alcohol use early.
In a study of nearly 3,600 New England middle school students, researchers found that among kids who said their parents never allowed them to watch R movies, few took up drinking over the next couple years.
Of that group, 3 percent said they had started drinking when questioned 13 to 26 months after the initial survey.
That compared with 19 percent of their peers who'd said their parents "sometimes" let them see R-rated films, and one-quarter of students who'd said their parents allowed such movies "all the time."
The researchers say the findings underscore the importance of parents paying close attention to their children's media exposure.
"We think this is a very important aspect of parenting, and one that is often overlooked," said Dr. James D. Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The new study has been reported in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.