Hanewinkel's team then compared students' on-screen alcohol exposure with how many of them reported ever binge drinking -- defined as having five or more drinks on a single occasion. In total, 27 percent reported binge drinking at some point.
The researchers found a consistent link: 10 to 20 percent of participants with some of the lowest movie-related alcohol exposure had binged themselves, compared to about 40 percent who had seen the most scenes with alcohol, according to findings reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
While the study couldn't show whether movie-viewing came before kids started binge drinking, Hanewinkel said he suspects a cause-and-effect link is at least partly to blame.Of course, remember, Europe is that wonderful place where people aren't uptight about alcohol (like the Puritanical U.S.) Do you suppose that other behaviors that kids see in movies might influence them to be as cool as the adults they see on screen? Violence, smoking, sex, drug use? Or do the movie makers turn off the mind control rays for those scenes?
The good news is that parents can counteract some of the popular culture by being good role models themselves, and not getting drunk. But it is still an uphill struggle against the dominant culture.