December 14th, 2015
Social media exposing children to alcohol advertising
By Helen Leggatt
Children as young as 13 are being exposed to ads from the alcohol industry on a daily basis, according to the study. While this is not a legal issue, lead author Adam E Barry of Texas A&M University said that it is “unethical to intentionally expose underage persons to alcohol advertising”.
The study focused on social media and found that, while Twitter implements an age-gate to block direct-to-phone updates to underage users, Instagram, popular among younger users, does not. After creating Twitter and Instagram profiles for fictitious users with the ages of 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21, the researchers attempted to interact with alcohol ad content by retweeting, commenting or sharing posts or following 22 official alcohol brand Twitter and Instagram profiles. They found that all the profiles, regardless of age, could view and interact with the content.