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Heavy exposure to screen entertainment media linked to less use of seatbelts in male adolescents: Findings from the National Annenberg Survey of Youth

Researchers have long noted that movies and television shows seldom show drivers wearing seatbelts. In an analysis of high school youths’ exposure to such entertainment, APPC researchers Sally Dunlop and Dan Romer found that males with heavy exposure to such programming were less likely to think that their friends and school peers used seatbelts. Furthermore, because what peers do influences young people, it was not surprising that youth with these perceptions were also less likely to use seatbelts themselves. There was no evidence that high school girls, who are also more likely to use seatbelts, were influenced by screen entertainment. These findings suggest that more needs to be done to educate adolescent boys that non-use of seatbelts is not safe even though movie and TV characters seldom use them.
Motor vehicle crashes are the most frequent source of deaths in adolescents ages 13 to 20 in the U.S. The majority of teens killed or injured in car crashes were not wearing belts at the time of the accident.
The article appears online in the journal Injury Prevention: