A new Australian study has found that children who love to watch sport on television are more likely to get exposed to alcohol ads than those who watch non-sport TV. These new findings are questioning the effectiveness of advertising regulations designed to protect children.
The researchers found that 87% of all alcohol adverts during the daytime were in sport TV when hundreds of thousands of children were watching. A clause in Australia’s advertising regulations allowing alcohol advertising in live sport programming during the day when children are watching appears to be responsible for children’s exposure to thousands of alcohol adverts each year, the study suggests. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study found that there were 6,049 alcohol adverts on free-to-air sport TV in 2012, with significantly more alcohol adverts per hour in sport than non-sport TV. Most of the alcohol advertising coincided with children and adolescent’s peak viewing times.
Research shows that greater exposure to alcohol advertising in children and adolescents is associated with earlier alcohol initiation and more problematic alcohol use later in life.
Study co-author Sherilene Carr from Monash University explained:
Watching sport with your kids is great family entertainment, but if culture is what you see around you, then it’s pretty clear from these results that what children see when they watch sport is a [alcohol] culture.
On the subject: Listen also to a radio report featuring commentary of a representative of the alcohol industry, Associate Professor Kerry O’Brien, the lead author of the Monash University study, and Professor Mike Daube, the director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth at Curtain University.