Purpose: Age restriction labels such as “not recommended for use in minors” began with cigarettes in 1966 in and now are found on many products that have been deemed by either the FDA or the manufacturer themselves as being unsafe for minor use. It is unclear whether these labels are acknowledged by adolescents, and if so, are they considered a deterrent or an enticement. Methods: To examine this, 150 adolescents (14-17 age range) attending an upper socioeconomic suburban high school were given an anonymous three part survey. Section one collected demographics and purchasing history. Section two asked the subject to view seven different novel similarly themed product dyads, and to choose one of each dyad. In each product dyad, one of the products contained a age restriction warning label product. Warning label placement and order of product presentation was randomized but two of each product except the novel power bar were included for inter-test reliability . The third part asked teens to categorize each dyad choice using the variables, “The age restriction label encouraged my choice”, “The age restriction label discouraged my choice” or “I did not notice the age restriction label.” Finally teens were asked about parental permissiveness of age restricted products. Results: 150 subjects participated, mean age: 15.15 years, 51% male. Overall underage teenagers chose age restricted products 55% of the time. When examined in categories, striking similarities were found in inter-test reliability. Mature video games were chosen an average of 56% of the time, restricted energy drinks 46% and rated R movies 64.5% and restricted power bars 55%. Eighty six percent of parents were reported “permissive” of mature movies, 80% permissive of mature video games and 32% of age restricted energy drinks. Teens reported that for both mature movies and video games they either “didn't notice or were encouraged” by the age restriction label 73% of the time, and 63% for both energy drink and powerbar. When teens indicated their parents were not permissive, warning labels were either “not noticed” or “encouraged” age restricted choice an average of 74%. When analyzed by gender there was no significant differences between male and female age restriction choices ( 3.77 vs. 3.96 p=0.34) or whether products discouraged, ( 1.66 vs 1.79 p=0.70) or encouraged ( 2.21 vs 2.53 p= 0.40) product choice. Conclusion: Age restriction warning labels should be considered ineffective for adolescents and may conversely contribute to product appeal. In order to help protect adolescents against injury or violence exposure, age restricted warning labels should be reconsidered and revised. Further research should be done on a larger sample to determine how to make age restriction warning labels more visible and effective.
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Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention Program| January 01 2018
Is the Label “not Recommended for Children” a Deterrent or Dangerous Attraction for Teenagers?
Pediatrics (2018) 141 (1_MeetingAbstract): 70.
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Jonathan M. Goldman; Is the Label “not Recommended for Children” a Deterrent or Dangerous Attraction for Teenagers?. Pediatrics January 2018; 141 (1_MeetingAbstract): 70. 10.1542/peds.141.1MA1.70
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