Media Effects on Alcohol and Drug Use
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Media|
|✅ Wordcount: 2434 words||✅ Published: 29th Jul 2021|
Schools, government programs and parents working harder and harder to educate children, to “just say no” (Levinthal 387) [i] to drugs. But the fight is hard against millions of dollars used for alcohol and prescription drug advertisements, that are doing exactly the opposite and trying to make adolescents and adults drink, take pills and smoke. In addition there are plenty of television programs and movies that are showing drug use as being cool. Younger people then receive mixed messages do to traditional advertising, media images, movies, songs, the internet and all known social media. An important factor are the more relaxed rating of movies with scenes of actors smoking, drinking and using drugs. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that tobacco advertising in all media will be forbidden, restrictions on alcohol advertising, avoiding general exposure to children with media associated with substances such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs, illegal drugs. They vote for more prevention and more class media education.
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In the media example the teenager started talking about alcohol when he was thirteen years old. He wanted to try it out of curiosity and to buy alcohol as a minor is relatively easy in other countries. It became a trend to go out with friends and drinking very fast. He started drinking beer and cheap drinks at first, but eventually developed a taste for better and purer alcohol. By the age of fourteen he drank alcohol regularly and until he passed out. This however did not prevent him from drinking every night, but was able to keep his parents in the dark about it. From this point on he started with alcohol, progressed to the use of marijuana and lastly to LSD and cocaine. This stands in total opposite about that view new media ads give us about alcohol.
In the words of a major 2005 study analyzing the lifestyles of eight- to eighteen-year-olds, young people today live “media-saturated lives, spending an average six to eight hours a day with media.”[ii] (Levinthal 391) The in study called Generation M (for Media), spends the time of a full time job with new media. [iii]The new media’s providing teenager with a multitude of entertaining such as reading (eBooks with tablets), listening to music, text messaging and chatting online with friends, watching TV, movies, live stream YouTube and similar WebPages. Parents are not able anymore to control their children’s media access, because of missing knowledge or just unrestricted access in the teens own four walls.
Alcohol is still the number one drug on American television and statistically every fourteen minutes some type of alcohol can be seen in selected programs. The results of multiple studies show that alcohol is constantly and visually present everywhere, but is rarely addressed explicitly. [iv]Especially the trivialized representations of alcohol in the environment of sports programs, drinking with girls in sexy outfits or music events; and in conjunction with humor makes it hard for the consumer to see the dangers of its use. Surveys showed that almost all young people have experiences with alcohol of some sorts. Alcohol plays a huge role from the perspective of young people, especially at parties and being together with friends; it creates fun and contributes to a better mood. On television the youth using alcohol especially in youth series, in advertising and in feature films. Overall, it was found that a media education project could contribute to raising awareness of alcohol issues such as excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to aggression and destroy friendships. Presented in a new media form the understanding of the dangers of alcohol (or any other drug) would be made easier for the adolescent media user.
Children learn early to know alcohol by watching adults drink before them on festive occasions or even every day in their home environment. This makes it much easier to even try in opposite to what the AAP article is saying. One can get to alcohol or easily as a survey explained, 81% of the youth surveyed knew that alcohol is present in their household.[v] Alcohol drinking is in: When teenagers drink alcohol, they are recognized by their peers or elders. The young people do not want to stand back in the group. If in a group where everyone drinks and most are older, teenagers do not want to stand back. That is how to become more recognized. Alcohol lifts the mood, for example at a party or in society. Thinking about problems is getting less and after more drug use even forget the everyday life. The adult the young person sees having a drink in movies, commercials, at home in the internet and so on is often to be imitated. Since some adult stand as a models, like actors, musician, athletes the young people usually think nothing of it. They do not know the far-reaching the consequences can become. Here too can be seen that real life examples can be as bad as examples, as the ones in the media which I think is missing in the article.
5% of young people drinking too much alcohol and are at risk. 15% percent, however, never drink alcohol. The alcoholic beverage no. one is beer. Wine and spirits are less in demand. In general, alcohol is considered normal. Who does not drink, is considered a nerd, an outsider, teens in peer pressure are forced to drink. A study shows for the years 2009 to 2014 shows, 86 adult directed popular musical performances with alcohol on average on each average day on music channels like MTV or VHS.[vi] Advertising/ showing of alcohol like beer, demonstrates such a fun time in one’s life, attractive, successful teen pictures. Since 1960, the TV advertising market for beer, wine, liquor grew, and the ads are often to see at primetime TV. 1000-2000 alcohol ads are annually shown during performances, series and reality shows for young people, plus sports broadcasts. In all these examples not one public service announcement (PSA) on the advertising of alcohol was to be attached. The trend of new sweet spirits and mix drinks that are containing more alcohol then beer went up in advertisement. 20% more liquor advertising on TV and 92% more magazine pages.[vii]
New technologies for the Internet, social networking sites and even mobile phones offer even more exposure. The so-called war on drugs has been going on in the film industry, and smoking is often totally banned. But a large number of film scenes are still showing alcohol with healthy adults and in many places. Together with the media and early education, the support to encourage children and young people to live alcohol free. Laws and regulation can be done to eliminate displays of “happy” drunks in social media. [viii]
Joe says in opposite to most research, that teens have a hard time avoiding drugs because they are so easy to come by and are often supplied by close friends. In school there are so many kids that sell stuff and a lot of times they are friends as well. The stereotypical drug pusher whom kids are warned about is the exception. Children are getting taught that somebody who sells drugs is, like, some filthy, grungy guy in a parka, but more often first exposures to drugs was through close friends, sometimes even immediate family. Joe thinks that it is a mistake for a lot of anti-drug campaigns geared to teens, to portray drug dealers looking like demons. Most of the kids that do a lot of the heavy drugs and booze are just as regular and probably quite pleasing to look at for regular people.
Regarding the seventeen points of advocacy and guidance through pediatricians there are indeed some of the points that can be used. Pediatricians can raise awareness with the parents of a teenager by asking questions about the media usage and the location of the teens TV and computer like in point one. But knowing that teens are much more tech savvy then their parents one can assume that they will trick their way through with using a gaming platform or their phone. Some of the other points seem to be to say the least- unrealistic. Parents will not change their daily life around to pre-view movies with their kids. They will not switch off the TV during the meals. They have even movies running when they are for ten minutes with their kids in the car so they do not need to talk to them.
Of course the entertainment industry should show more sensibility and responsibility. Congress needs to come up with new laws and regulations about advertisements regarding medications, alcohol and tobacco. As logical consequence there should be more funding for early education and commercials against drinking and smoking, like we can see in the campaigns against texting and driving for example. But even though all these things are factors that increase the risks of kids getting “lured” into drug use- the biggest of all responsibility still lays with the closest family and friends. Remembering the prohibition area, having alcohol as I totally illegal substance did not show to be really successful. This approach only added more crime, secrets and home-made booze that was quite dangerous sometimes because it was even stronger. In conclusion one really would think that just a general better education and more own responsibility for every citizen can make a difference.
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[i] Levinthal, Charles F. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society, 7th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 12/2010. VitalBook file.
[ii] Levinthal, Charles F. Drugs, Behavior, and Modern Society, 7th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 12/2010. VitalBook file.
[iii] Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth:Clicking With Kids: Alcohol Marketing and Youth on the Internet.Washington, DC:Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth;2004
[iv] Nemours. Teen Health. Alcohol. © 1995-2014 The Nemour Foundation. http://kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol/alcohol/alcohol.html
[v] HornikR,JacobsohnL,OrwinR,PiesseAN,KaltonG.Effects of the National Youth Anti- Drug Media Campaign on youths.Am J Public Health.2008;98(12):2229–2236
[vi] American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Communications. Children, adolescents, and
advertising [published correction appears in Pediatrics.2007;119(2):424]. Pediatrics.2006;
[vii] American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Communications. Children, adolescents, and
advertising [published correction appears in Pediatrics.2007;119(2):424]. Pediatrics.2006;
[viii] MorenoMA,BrinerLR,WilliamsA,WalkerL,ChristakisDA.Real use or “real cool”: adolescents speak out about displayed alcohol references on social networking websites.J Adolesc Health.2009;45
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