Alcohol education message targets kids ages 8-12

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ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has unveiled a new education campaign, encouraging parents to speak to younger children about alcohol.

The statewide campaign called Know When. Know How is described as a research-based education and prevention effort targeted to parents of children ages 8-12. The PLCB based the message on its own findings gathered from hundreds of phone surveys and eight focus groups with parents across Pennsylvania.

“We found some shocking things,” said Elizabeth Brassell, PLCB Communications Director. “First of all, there is research that suggests that one in three children by the age of 8 has tried alcohol and by the age of 12, that number grows to two in three. We’re also finding that children who start drinking by the age of 13 are more than four times as likely to become alcohol dependent later in life as those who didn’t.”

PLCB officials launched the campaign before a group of parents, teachers, police officers and other public officials inside a classroom at Bear Creek School in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County. The intermediate school is home to students in grades 4-6, who statistically fall into the category of children considering trial use of alcohol.

Brassell says certain social norms have changed since the PLCB’s last campaign, launched about a decade ago, which aimed to educate young adults about the dangers of binge drinking. In recent years, Pennsylvanians of all ages have been exposed to alcohol in new ways, including the craft brewery boom, the culture of ‘wine moms’ and the expansion of state liquor sales into grocery and convenience stores. She says it has become more socially acceptable for women to drink publicly and the serving of alcoholic beverages is “almost expected” in many social situations. The added visibility and availability of alcohol across the state is not lost on children.

“From the research perspective, there are some pretty scary statistics,” added Brassell. “The good news is, children 8 to 11 years old are also in that age range where they are most receptive to parents’ feedback. Start talking early, keep talking often and have the conversation grow with the children as they grow and develop.”

The campaign will include several television and radio advertisements, plus a range of digital ads aimed at grabbing the attention of social media and smartphone users. Learn more at www.knowwhenknowhow.org.

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