The Internet, Alcohol and Youth
Alcohol company websites have sizeable youth audiences and contain content that is attractive to youth.
Clicking with Kids: Alcohol Marketing and Youth on the Internet, CAMY's March 2004 report, shows that alcohol company websites have sizeable youth audiences and contain content that is attractive to youth. Games, cartoons, music, and a variety of high-tech downloads fill many of these sites, and programs designed to allow parents to block their children's access to these sites often fail to do so.
Youth use the Internet in large numbers and are highly computer-literate. CAMY's report shows that alcohol industry websites remain a potential playground for them.
Youth Access to Alcohol Websites
- Fifty-five alcohol websites tracked by comScore Media Metrix during the last six months of 2003 had almost 700,000 in-depth visits1 from underage youth, which accounted for 13.1% of all in-depth visits to those sites during the measurement period.2
- Two distilled spirits Web sites led in the percentage of underage in-depth site visits. One site - www.bacardi.com - received almost 60% of its in-depth visits from underage persons, and a second site - www.skyy.com - received almost half of all in-depth site visits from underage persons.3
- Two beer websites led in the absolute number of in-depth site visits initiated by those under the legal age. Both sites - www.budlight.com and www.budweiser.com - each received more than 90,000 visits from underage persons.4
- With the help of parent volunteers in seven states and the District of Columbia, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth tested eight of the leading parental control software packages and found that 76% of alcohol brands eluded parental controls half the time or more.5
Alcohol Website Content
- Computer technology offers interactive and high-tech features unlike almost any other medium, and alcohol Web sites offer a wide range of these elements.6 (See examples)
- The beer, distilled spirits and malternative websites that CAMY reviewed in the fall of 2003 featured games including putt-putt golf, shooting aliens, pinball, car racing, digital football, air hockey, spin the bottle and a slot machine.7
- Other features on the websites CAMY reviewed included customized music and instant-messaging (IM) accessories, high-tech e-mail features and a large variety of downloadable screensavers and wallpapers, among other interactive content.8
- In the 74 websites reviewed in CAMY's report, games were featured on 10 of 15 beer websites, seven of 19 distilled spirits sites and four of 12 malternative sites. Visitors to 10 beer sites, 11 distilled spirits sites and eight malternative sites were able to download screensavers or wallpapers. In contrast, one of 28 wine websites featured a game (a wine user-s profile), and screensavers or wallpapers were available for downloading on only five wine websites.9
- Teens are online in large numbers. A study from late 2000 found that 17 million teens ages 12 to 17 - 73% - use the Internet.10
- Of the 88% of teens who have a home computer, 89% have access to the Internet.11 While many are also able to access the Internet at school, 60% of teens still report that they use the Internet - somewhere else--away from home and from school.12
- Teens are also savvy Internet users: 64% of teens and 66% of parents say that online teens know more about the Internet than their parents.13
What Do Youth Do Online?
- Teens (12 to 17) are more likely than adults to go online for fun, to use instant messaging, to play or download games online, to listen to music online, to download music, to check for sports scores online, and to look online for information about movies and other activities.14
- Fifty-three percent of teens ages 12 to 19 who were interviewed in fall 2003 said that they had played games online in the past 30 days. Fifty-six percent said that they had listened to music online, and 22% said they had looked for information about companies or products.15
- Fifty-four percent of online teens say they think the Internet helps them to find out what's cool in fashion and music.16
In-depth visits, reported by comScore Media Metrix, have been defined by CAMY as visits that resulted in more than two page views. This definition has been used to eliminate from the analysis visits initiated by underage persons who were deterred by a website's age- verification process, and thus viewed fewer than three pages.
- 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), 3
- Ibid, 3.
- Ibid, 3.
- Ibid, 22.
- Ibid, 2-3.
- Ibid, 7-9.
- Ibid, 9-18.
- Ibid, 2-3, 7-18.
- Amanda Lenhart, Lee Rainie, and Oliver Lewis, Teenage life online: The rise of the instant-message generation and the Internet's impact on friendships and family relationships (Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2001), 3. The Pew Internet & American Life Project is funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts' information cluster.
- Teenage Research Unlimited, Fall 2003, Wave 42, S-74.
- UCLA Center for Communication Policy, The UCLA Internet Report--Surveying the Digital Future- (Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Communication Policy, 2003), 65.
- Amanda Lenhart, Lee Rainie, and Oliver Lewis, Teenage life online, 5.
- Ibid, 37.
- Teenage Research Unlimited, Fall 2003, Wave 42, S-76.
- Amanda Lenhart, Lee Rainie, and Oliver Lewis, Teenage life online, 40.