"Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix" is a pair of Web sites, one for kids (www.asklistenlearn.com) and another for adults (www.asklistenlearn.com/adults), designed to combat underage drinking by bombarding 9-to-12-year-olds with entertainment and strategies and their parents with information.


"Ask, Listen, Learn" is a joint public service campaign of the Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by the nation's leading distillers, and Viacom International's Nickelodeon entertainment branch, whose involvement will ensure saturation marketing via television and print.


Nickelodeon's unmistakable imprint is obvious on the kids' site, with its vivid color animation and kid-tested humor. For example, among the tips in "Ways to Say No" is: "I'd rather build a time machine, go back to last week, and kick your butt before you get such a dumb idea."


The games, quizzes and other materials are meant to direct kids and parents to the "Action Against Alcohol Agreement," a pledge to communicate openly and honestly about alcohol. Of course, the problem with this sort of pledge is that the sort of kid who will honor it isn't likely to be attending keg parties in middle school.


There is plenty of potentially valuable information for kids, and parents might find some of the articles and resources useful as well. There is, for example, an FAQ that provides ready answers for some basic questions, such as "Grown-ups drink alcohol, so why can't I?" Answer: "First, it's against the law. . . ."