Scotland: Children’s Parliament Seek Alcohol Change
Scotland Children’s Parliament members are calling for stronger alcohol control to protect kids and change the pervasive alcohol norm.
A new report was published with the help of 9 Children’s Parliament members. The report illustrates findings from workshops with 90 primary school kids between 9 to 11 years.
The alcohol norm harms kids
During the sessions, children shared their experiences of alcohol, along with wondering what their life might be like if they did not encounter alcohol regularly.
Young people described alcohol as being “highly visible” throughout their day.
No-one asks us about alcohol and suddenly when you think about it, you realise it’s all around you all the time,” said one member of the Children’s Parliament as per The Scotsman.
Children said they were exposed to alcohol in various places including hotels, airports and train stations. The children told researchers that alcohol was portrayed in adverts as being “desirable and cool”.
According to Allison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, which aided in the research, adults assume that children are not exposed to alcohol because it is age restricted, but the report shows otherwise.
What this work has shown us for the first time is how often children are seeing alcohol – from opening the fridge at breakfast time, throughout the day in shops and on billboards to in their homes and on TV at night – and the negative effects it can have on their wellbeing,” said Ms. Douglas, as per The Scotsman.
Apart from seeing alcohol ads everywhere, many of the children also said that their relationships and interactions with adults under the influence of alcohol at home or during celebrations were negatively affected. One pupil had stated “children can feel sad, ignored and not listened to.”
Through the report the Children’s Parliament called for,
- Alcohol to be made less visible in shops and on TV, as well as calling for the removal of adverts from billboards,
- An end to the alcohol industry sponsoring events at which children will be present.
Responding to the calls of the Children’s Parliament
Ms. Douglas stated the The Scottish Government’s forthcoming consultation on alcohol marketing is a good opportunity to show children that their voices are being heard. This includes making sure to protect their right to grow in a healthy, happy and safe environment free from the alcohol norm.
The Children’s Parliament Investigators have done a great job in capturing and sharing the experiences of many of their peers, providing a unique and sobering insight which will help to inform the proposals for our consultation on restrictions to alcohol marketing issuing next spring,” said Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick, as per, Common Space.