Use Super Bowl for teachable moments

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

But it's not just about football. The Super Bowl is known for its commercials almost as much as it is for the game itself. Of that wide viewing audience, about 18 percent will be youth under 21. If your child is one of them, he or she will be exposed to alcohol advertising.

Why the concern? Research shows that the more youth are exposed to alcohol in advertising, the more likely they are to consume alcohol underage (1). During last year's game, a beer company not only took top vote for producing the overall favorite commercial, but also earned the "Top Advertiser" title with more commercial time than any other sponsor (2). This year's was no different.

So if your child watched the Super Bowl, we hope you not only watched it with him or her, but used the commercials as teachable moments, helping your child understand and develop the ability to resist messages that should not be aimed at youth.

Here are some questions to ask your child to get the conversation started:

  • What is this ad trying to sell you?
  • Is this product healthy for you?
  • How is this ad sponsor trying to get you to buy their product?
  • How do you feel about the product now?

Teaching your child to "read between the lines" of advertisements is called media literacy (3). For more information on helping your child identify, analyze and evaluate media messages, please visit:

Sources: (1) Marin Institute, Alcohol Industry Watchdog, 2009. (2) The Nielsen Company, 2009. (3) US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 2009.