Kids, Channel One will help you determine if you have a drinking problem.

March 28, 2005

Students routinely see feature stories on Channel
One News about teenagers with drug or alcohol PROBLEMS. Typically,
the Channel One reporter will end the story looking at the camera
and saying, "If you know someone with a drinking problem,
visit Channel"

The executives who produce Channel One News clearly
believe that occasional or even moderate drinking by their preteen
and teen audience is acceptable. Drinking TOO MUCH, well, that
is a bad thing.

Below is Channel One’s truly awful teen and preteen "Sobriety
Test" on Students who watched Channel One
News at school were told to go to the web site and take this test.

"Does someone you know drink too much?" also
means, "Do YOU drink too much?" It is easier to phrase
it as if the reader certainly wouldn’t have a drinking problem,
but a friend might. Since most teens and preteens who would read
this "Sobriety Test" would "know" mainly other
young people, Channel One’s writers are sending a message that
youth drinking is in two camps: OK drinking and Not OK drinking.
It is safe to assume that Channel One doesn’t mean, "Do you
know of adults who drink too much." After all the quiz is
about young people who have drinking problems.

For a child to determine if they or a friend are
drinking too much alcohol, they are given 12 questions. A young
person answers one and another question pops up. At the end, Channel
One News will tell the child if their drinking (or their friend’s
drinking") is out of bounds. Notice that some questions refer
to adults. This is because Channel One usually cuts and pastes
content and it is clear that they didn’t take much time to customize
this Alcoholic Anonymous language for their young visitors.

Let’s run through the quiz.

Guess what Obligation did when we took the test?
That’s right. We answer every question with a "No." We
were interested in what Channel One News would tell a young person
who answered all questions in the negative. So "No" to
Question #1.


"No." Always with other 12-year-olds.

Grades are the same as always. All C’s and D’s.


That would be dumb." No."

"No. Slowly."

"No, not that I can remember."

My parents have no idea I drink and have never
asked me. "No"





So how did we do?

Here is the screen that pops up when a young person
answers "No" twelve times:

Wow. No drinking problem for our imaginary 12-year-old.
Channel One says, "If you answered ‘Yes’ to ANY of these questions,
drinking could be a problem…" Phrased another way: "If
you answered ‘no’ to all the questions, drinking COULDN’T be a

This is dangerous content to put on a children’s
web site. Channel One can’t lose their "cool factor" with
kids, so they apparently can’t come out and say that ALL underage
drinking is wrong and dangerous. They have to be "hip" with
the kids and "wink" at "non-problem drinking." What
Channel One News is doing is normalizing drinking among preteens
and teens. That’s intolerable.

Obligation’s Jim Metrock said, "I don’t understand a ‘Sobriety
Test’ for underage youth. ‘Sobriety’ does mean ‘abstinence’ but
it can also mean ‘moderation’ in drinking alcohol. The mere fact
Channel One News needs twelve questions to determine if a young
person is drinking too much is absurd. How about one question?
‘If you are under 21, do you drink alcohol? If you do, then you
should stop and you need to talk to your parents or another responsible