Kids exposed to alcohol advertising by social media sites
Alcohol campaigners in New Zealand are worried about the amount of alcohol marketing to which children are exposed.
They are concerned about the amount of advertising youngsters see, particularly through social media, and the lack of restrictions on alcohol corporations.
Their comments follow a British study that shows 10 to 15-year-olds in Britain see 10 per cent more alcohol television advertising than their parents.
The study, by the Research and Development Corporation, has alcohol campaigners calling for new research in New Zealand.
One of the few studies completed in New Zealand had similar results to the British research.
A 1996 Auckland study showed the average 10 to 17-year-old saw an alcohol television advertisement 400 times a year.
‘‘They [alcohol corporations] want to be able to reach younger markets – that is going to maintain their customers over a lifetime,’’ Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams says.
Mrs Williams says social media sites have become another tool for alcohol corporations to advertise their products to young people.
‘‘They will link you to a site, you like it and you share it with all your friends.
‘‘There are absolutely no controls, no restrictions whatsoever.’’
The lack of restrictions on the alcohol companies has Massey University School of Psychology Associate Professor Antonia Lyons worried.
‘‘The alcohol industry regulates their advertising,’’ she says.
‘‘You wouldn’t expect it to be really effective because the industry wants to make more profit from their product.’’
Dr Lyons says alcohol marketing is so powerful that in one of her studies a participant thought Tui was a lifestyle rather than a beer.
‘‘Alcohol marketing gives you a particular type of identity and that’s how it’s so effective, because people will drink to produce a type of identity,’’ Dr Lyons says.
Mrs Williams agrees and says problems will continue to worsen if alcohol marketing is not curtailed.
She points to figures which show more than 60 per cent of school-aged children are drinking alcohol, and a third of those are binge drinking.
‘‘The country can’t sustain that pattern of drinking knowing that 34 per cent of young adults are more likely to have a problem with their alcohol use at some point.’’
Mrs Williams says the Government is the biggest obstacle to change.
‘‘You can see very clearly that we have strong public support for change but as soon as it gets into the political arena it gets watered and salted down until we got to next to nothing,’’ she says.