Advertising is everywhere–on TV, the bus, the street, and the Internet.1 Alcohol advertising is no exception. Alcohol ads make the product look great, associating the brand with cool, sexy people, and fun activities. The ads are specifically designed to communicate appealing ideas about the product: “it’s for people like me,” “it makes activities even better,” “it’s popular/stylish,” and “people want to be seen drinking this.” Unfortunately, the ads may make our youth think all of these things too.
So, what can parents do to change their child’s perception of alcohol? You can use media literacy techniques (the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media) to help your child view ads more critically. When you sit down to watch television, make it a teachable moment. Adjust the approach to fit your child’s age and attention level. Choose an ad and ask questions like:
An exercise like this can help your child better understand that the purpose of alcohol ads is to communicate the advertiser’s point of view and increase sales with no concern for any possible negative, long-term impact the product might have on people. It also provides an opportunity to learn how to challenge what an ad is saying. Over time, this exercise will help your child realize that they don’t have to buy into or be a victim of the advertiser’s message.
For more information on alcohol advertising, check out the following links:
 Federal Trade Commission (FTC): https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0391-alcohol-advertising
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