The Effects of the Media on Underage Alcohol AbuseIt is a major aspect of our culture and many others, being used in religious ceremonies, forcelebration, and during common socialization, its presence is seen everywhere. It is alcohol. Alcohol is the broad term that society gives to such drinks as wine, beer, and hard liquor because itcontains ethyl alcohol. Despite the fact that in the past century alone, alcohol has been denounced,accepted, and outlawed, we still see alcohol everywhere in magazines, television, billboards, andThe effects of alcohol are numerous and reach a widespread of people in the following ways:drunk driving accidents, fetal alcohol syndrome, liver disease, and increased risk of sexuallytransmitted diseases. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, also called theNIAAA, state in their article called Alcohol Alert that, Alcohol contributes to 100,000 deathsannually, making it the third leading cause of preventable casualty (2).Order now
In addition, Gary Hopkins,MD, director of The Center for Adolescent Behavior Research at Andrews University, found that41% of all traffic fatalities, the leading cause of accidental death, are alcohol-related (n. p. ). Alcoholis a significant problem in todays society, it isnt limited to any particular age group, but one agegroup of great concern is those that are under twenty-one years. The Century Council is a group started in 1991 to fight underage drinking and alcohol abuse.
According to Fighting Alcohol Abuse, the Century Councils website, most young people do notdrink illegally, the number who do is high enough to make underage drinking a serious safety andhealth concern(n. p. ). The Century Council continues with sixth graders in saying, one in fourteensixth graders drink monthly(n. p. ).
They go on to talk about eighth graders and thier drinking habits. One in four eighth graders have drank in the last month, one in six have reported binge drinking,and one in ten got drunk while drinking(n. p. ). Binge drinking is drinking heavily in a short amountof time and can result in alcohol poisining sometimes resulting in death.
If that is shocking, maybethe statistic that one in two high school seniors drink on a monthly basis(n. p. ). These statisticsagain prove a serious problem, but what is the root?In a society where children are able to identify more brands of beer than American Presidents,there is a definite problem.
The root to the dangerous mix of alcholol and todays youth is themedia. The increase in underage alcohol consumption is a direct and indirect result of the mediasinfluence in children and teenagers. The same study by the NIAAA showed that when a group ofnine to eleven year olds were asked what Tony the Tiger said when he appears on televisionadvertisements, then asked what those talking frogs, spokescritters for Budweiser, said, they wereable to respond to the latter much faster (1). Clearly, these ads are leaving an impression on youngminds.
These advertisements are targeting teenagers heavily during prime-time television and duringA large portion of a television program is its commercials. Commercials praise this softdrink because it is richer, that brand of potato chips because they are crispier, and those khakisbecause people can line-dance in them. The commercials are colorful and loud, featuring thebeautiful people: models, rock stars, athletes, actors, and actresses that society have come to maketheir role models. Every company is spending millions of dollars to get the most renownedcharacters, people, cartoons, or animals to appeal so that we will buy their products. These are thesame targeting tactics used in alcohol advertisements as well.
Statistics from P. A. Madden and J. W.
Grubes research Frequency and Nature of Alcoholand Tobacco Advertisements on Television Sports from the American Journal of Public Health saysthat the beer brewing industry spends six million dollars each year on television and radioadvertisements. As well, they spend ninety million dollars a year on print advertisements (298). Aside from that, they get less obvious advertisements. When watching a movie, people drink acertain soda, eat at certain fast food restaurants, and wear a particular brand of clothing to try tosway the public to buy the same things. When looking at exactly whom the television and movieindustry is targeting, consider the audience that is watching.
Television shows such as DawsonsCreek and Beverly Hills 90210 are aimed primarily at teenagers. Many times they urge abstinence ofhabit-forming substances to teenagers. .