COVID-19 cocktails: push for tighter alcohol advertising restrictions on social media

University of Queensland researchers reveal how alcohol advertisers are using social media to prey on parents and encourage drinking as a way to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Janni Leung from UQ’s School of Psychology and  National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research said better policies are urgently required to support parents exposed to alcohol messaging through social media.

“It’s tough to push parents to reflect on the way their children might perceive their drinking habits while the industry has been capitalising on the current crisis,” Dr Leung said.

“Instead, we need to provide support and protect parents through these challenging times.”

A recent report found on one social media account, an average of one alcohol advertisement was shown to the user every 35 seconds.

Common themes of the advertisements included ‘easy access to alcohol without leaving home’, ‘buy more’, ‘drink during COVID-19’ and ‘drink to cope’.

“Parents, especially mothers, have shared an influx of memes on social media about using alcohol to cope with the stress of the pandmeic such as ‘maybe it takes a village to raise a child, but I swear it’s gonna take a vineyard to homeschool one’,” Dr Leung said.

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