The ‘Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix’ campaign was developed to encourage parents to delay their child’s introduction to alcohol. This recommendation was based on medical evidence that alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the developing adolescent brain.
Challenging widespread beliefs
The campaign aimed to challenge the belief that parents should introduce alcohol to their child. This often meant by allowing them to start drinking during their teenage years, in the family home.
Instead of this behaviour, the campaign encouraged parents to be proactive and agree on strategies to implement when their child asks about alcohol. It also suggested that parents should have this talk (with each other) once their children were aged between 9-14 years old.
Most Australian parents think that they should talk to their kids about alcohol and boundaries before they’re 12, however this can often be a daunting task. As a result, DrinkWise has developed a range of helpful tools and advice for parents to have ‘the talk’ with their kids, about their expectations regarding alcohol.
The ‘Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix’ campaign has enjoyed widespread national coverage in major newspapers, prime time television and radio. Federal Members of Parliament, community leaders and sporting heroes came together at the launch. This was held at Parliament House. Here, the Australian Government publicly commended DrinkWise – saying that the campaign was a positive move by the alcohol industry to combat binge drinking and a good example of how the community needs to work together to change the drinking culture.
Results of the campaign
Recall of this campaign has been very high amongst parents with kids aged 14-17. (67%) of these parents indicated that the main message of the campaign was:
- To delay giving your child a drink/ wait until they are 18.
- That alcohol affects the development of a child’s brain.
- When you think they’re ready, think again.
Changes in parents’ attitudes, as a result of seeing the campaign, have been found; With many altering their opinion on the statements below:
- Drinking alcohol effects the development of a teenager’s brain – (70% strongly agree- up 6 points from benchmark)
- It’s OK to give your child under 18 years of age an occasional glass of alcohol (52% disagree strongly – up 7 points from benchmark)
Parents of 14-17 year olds indicated that as the result of seeing the campaign they’ve…
- Talked to their children about how alcohol can impair the developing brain (51%)
- Set firm family guidelines so that their children are clear about their expectations about when they can commence drinking (30%)
- They’ve considered how their own drinking might influence their child’s decision to begin drinking (29%); and
- They’ve developed a strategy with their spouse/partner for dealing with their child’s request to commence drinking when they raise the issue (19%).
It’s important to familiarise yourself with the facts about alcohol including binge drinking and drink driving. And remember to enjoy alcohol in moderation to reduce the short and long term side effects of drinking.
Click here for more information about the NHMRC Australian Alcohol Guidelines.