How alcohol advertisers reach teens through social media

How alcohol advertisers reach teens through social media

We already know that the teens who are online are already at a greater risk for alcohol use. Compared to teens who spend no time on social media sites in a typical day, teens who do are 5 times more likely to use alcohol. (Click here for more info.)

There are many contributing factors to why teens who are on social media are more likely to drink alcohol, but more research is coming out explaining how alcohol advertisers reach teens through social media.

How youth are exposed to alcohol advertising

While wine, beer and spirits companies have set a voluntary standard limiting ad placement among traditional outlets when 28.4 percent or more of the audience is under age 21, setting such restrictions on social media platforms has proven trickier for regulators.

David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), explains that it’s hard to quantify the presence of alcohol ads on social media sites because ads are targeted to a user’s online behavior and any of them are circulated in the form of viral posts.

The more teens are on social media sites, the more they are getting exposed to online alcohol ads. Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among American teens ages 13 to 17, with 71% of all teens using the site, according to the Pew Research Center. Instagram and Snapchat follow in teen use with 52% using Instagram and 41% using Snapchat.

In addition, according to Consumer Reports, more than a third of minors on Facebook inflate their ages to sign up, because Facebook does not permit users younger than 13. So even with regulations against ads to minors, the numbers can be skewed.

What parents can do

It’s important for parents to be educated on the messages teens are receiving about alcohol and the dangers of underage drinking.

Parents not only need to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking (click here for info on the consequences), but they need to talk to them about alcohol marketing. Parents must help their kids understand that advertising will never tell the whole story about alcohol use and its consequences on young people.

Click this link for tips on talking to you kids about alcohol.