The internet is a powerful tool that could either help or destroy the values of kids today. This is why in a report from two known journals, parents and other concerned adults are warned about alcohol manufacturers who take advantage of the web to promote their products to kids.
The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is informing the public that the various advertising tactics made by the alcohol industry on the internet are noticeably aimed to arouse the curiosity of underage drinkers.
Due to heavy alcohol advertising, it is estimated that around 4,700 alcohol-related deaths happen to underage drinkers in the United States each year.
Another study done by Rebecca Williams and Kurt Ribisl from the University of California showed that internet alcohol sellers fail to verify their clients’ age and that success rates of minors buying alcohol online is about 45%.
The study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine emphasizes how safety precautions on the purchase of alcohol are often compromised.
Director of the Hopkins Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth David Jernigan shares the same sentiments. “The fact that there are literally thousands of online outlets selling alcohol and that purchase attempts by underage persons are successful almost half of the time tells us how insufficient the protections are for our youth.”
Alcohol traders are also using social networks to reach their youth market, and they are winning as studies have proven that advertising encourages more teens to drink, and even drink heavily.
Jernigan adds that it’s about time that regulating bodies and law enforcement catch up with technology when it comes to controlling underage drinking. “Tighter controls on content and better technology to limit underage access are needed to reduce alcohol use among young people.”