From Healthline, Sept. 2013: Teens Respond Better to Positive Information Than Warnings
“Want to Keep Kids from Smoking? Tout Positives, Not Negatives…
Overall, researchers found that younger study participants were less likely to take the risks of negative information into account. However, positive learning from good news remained constant for people of all ages.”
Positive learning from good news.
The scare tactics of the past – Just Say No, Bloody Asphalt, Super Size Me – have all proven ineffective ways of motivating students, and people, to develop healthy habits for life.
So we’ve flipped our lessons…
“Don’t eat fast food” is now “Eat real food”.
“Don’t be a bully” morphed into “Be a hero”.
and “Just say no” became “Don’t you have something better to do?”
And now, even with tobacco – something we know for an absolute fact to be deadly – research tells us we need to change our approach as well.
Focus on what you can gain if you don’t smoke… rather than what you can lose if you do.
Something to keep in mind when designing our curriculum. Maybe it’s time to throw away the graphic videos and models of blackened lungs… have them talk to athletes and singers instead. Stop focusing on all of the people who have lost their lives from smoking, and have them interview people who have quit – and gained their lives back – instead.
I mean, we’ve always known that telling teenagers not to do something is only going to make them want to do it even more… now we’ve got the research to back it up.