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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
January/February 2010, Volume 18, Number 1 

photo of parent and child playing game

Game Helps Parents and Children Talk about Alcohol

A new DVD game designed to be played on a computer brings parents and children together to talk about the dangers of underage drinking.

Ready, Set, Listen!, developed by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), offers a fun and interactive experience that introduces and reinforces the importance of family discussion on an important subject.

The game has two goals:

  • To increase the number of conversations that parents and caregivers have with children age 9 to 13 about the harms of underage alcohol use.
  • To increase the percentage of children, parents, and caregivers who see underage alcohol use as harmful.

The computer game evolved from a traditional board game format and is available in English and Spanish.

photo of Ready Set Listen DVD game

"Safe Harbors"

The game includes a set of "Safe Harbors," which are guidelines that focus on six principles:

  1. Establish and maintain good communication with your child.
  2. Get involved in your child’s life.
  3. Make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate consequences.
  4. Be a positive role model.
  5. Help your child deal with the need for peer acceptance.
  6. Monitor your child’s activities.

Some of the ideas included in the "Safe Harbors" encourage parents to get to know their child’s friends and their parents; to allow for daily one-on-one time with their child; to ask for their child’s opinions; and to help their child say no to alcohol offered by peers.

Playing the Game

The game works best when played with two to six players, both youth and adults together. Three types of game cards are also included.

  • Facts Cards help players learn the facts about alcohol and clear up myths and common misconceptions.
  • Feeling Cards open up communication between players by beginning a dialogue about underage drinking and what can be done to prevent it.
  • Challenge Cards ask players to respond to made-up situations so they can discuss challenges and problems concerning alcohol.

The DVDs are available to order from SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). For the English-language version of Ready, Set, Listen! ask for publication number SMA09-4469. For the Spanish-language version, ask for publication number SMA09-4470.

For more information about SAMHSA’s efforts to prevent underage drinking, visit the Agency’s Too Smart To Start Web site.

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Game Helps Parents & Children Talk about Alcohol

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An interactive way for families to discuss the dangers of underage drinking.

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Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road – Rockville, MD 20857
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