The kids are getting on the piss earlier, and alcohol marketing on social media is in part to blame, according to a new study presented at the APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference today.
The study spoke to Victorians aged 15-29 about their following of alcohol brands on social media, with ‘liking’ a page associated with earlier ages of alcohol consumption, riskier alcohol-related behaviour, and using illegal drugs.
Participants aged 15-17 were equally as likely as older participants to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ alcohol pages.
“Australian teens are clearly being reached and influenced by alcohol campaigns, despite current restrictions and regulations in place by advertising boards and social media platforms. We need to rethink our regulations and ensure this at risk group are protected from these campaigns,” said Dr Megan Lim, Head of Sexual Health and Young People Research, Burnet Institute.
“The results of this study are concerning. Social media campaigns to promote alcohol are reaching and engaging large numbers of underage teens, and are linked to riskier behaviour and drinking at a young age.
“There is a need to evaluate strategies used by social media moderators and alcohol regulation bodies to reduce the exposure to and potential impact of alcohol marketing pages on adolescents and young adults, and ensure these pages are not accessible to or targeting underage social media users.”