Kids, Alcohol and the Internet: A Dangerous Mix

By on 11-08-2012

teenager underaged drinking alcoholWe all know that kids and alcohol don’t mix, but is the Internet making matters worse? Although trouble-seeking teens have long found ways to sneak past their parents and unlock the proverbial liquor cabinet, so to speak, many parents are expressing concern over the role the World Wide Web might be playing in adolescents’ decisions to imbibe.

 Is the Internet Marketing Alcohol to Kids?

In 2003, a survey of parents found that 65% were very troubled that alcohol web sites targeted youth through games and other elements that appeal to the adolescent age group such as cartoons and certain types of music, as cited in the Alcohol Marketing and Youth on the Internet report by The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.The same study showed that 55 alcohol websites tracked during the last half of 2003 received nearly 700,000 visits from underage visitors.

 Alcohol Sales Online

You may be thinking that even if your child were influenced enough by these online advertising attempts to want to buy alcohol, he still couldn’t. After all, who’s going to sell alcohol to a kid? Online vendors, that’s who! Apparently, it’s easier than ever for underaged drinkers to catch a buzz, thanks to the thousands of websites that now sell alcohol. According to a recent study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, attempts by minors to purchase alcohol online were successful nearly half of the time (45 out of 100), making the Internet the best place for teens to play the odds.

 What Can Parents Do?

Although there’s no doubting that alcohol marketers and vendors need to be more responsible and take measures to prevent underage drinking, in the meantime, there are some things that you can do now to protect your child from these unethical practices. In addition to talking to your child about the dangers of underage drinking, you should also take steps to ensure that he or she doesn’t have access to websites that advertise and/or sell alcoholic beverages.

Qustodio’s parental control software allows you to block certain categories of websites, including alcohol-related sites. Once you download the app, you can restrict all sites advertising or selling alcohol with just the click of the mouse. That way, your child can continue to enjoy the many age-appropriate educational and entertaining sites on the Web without becoming the target of an alcohol marketing campaign.

If you don’t want your child to be negatively influenced by alcohol-related ads, or worse, have the option of purchasing alcohol online, protect him or her today with Qustodio.