Advertisings Unintended Consequences

Youth Specialties
October 17th, 2008

According to a new study by to be published by the American Journal of Public Health, ad campaigns, such as the publicly funded Partnership for a Drug-Free America, designed to dissuade kids from using drugs may actually encourage drug use.

“Youths who saw the campaign ads took from them the message that their peers were using marijuana,” the report suggests as a possible reason for its findings. “In turn, those who came to believe that their peers were using marijuana were more likely to initiate use themselves.” link Read the abstract of this study

In youth ministry, this study could have far reaching effects. On the one hand, we desire to fill our students with truth to handle the challenges they face in today’s pluralistic society. On the other hand, we don’t want to introduce a curiosity to younger adolescents and accidentally educate them on something they are unaware of. This doesn’t just apply to drugs, does it? This could also apply to how we talk about many hot topics that youth groups discuss all the time. For discussion: How do you balance educating students enough so that they make wise decisions, yet guard against them being curious about something they’d never considered before?

Youth Specialties

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