A new responsible drinking campaign that promotes talking to teens about drinking, in the same way parents talk to them about sex, has been questioned by public health officials.
The educational videos, launched by alcohol-industry Cheers, shows parents having awkward one-on-one conversations about alcohol with their teens, using language that could be applicable to the sex talk.
Cheers is run by the Tomorrow Project, the social responsibility arm of Spirits New Zealand, the NZ Winegrowers, and the Brewers’ Association.
The educational advertising campaign launched on Monday with the aim of getting more parents to talk to their teens about drinking.
A survey of 1500 people carried out by Cheers in 2014 found teens believed their parents did a better job at talking to them about sex than about alcohol.
“We talk to our teenagers about sex, so why should alcohol be any different?”
Further interviews with 10 families in 2015 found parents were approaching the subject the wrong way by doing things like sharing war stories, trying to be their friend, or setting restrictive rules around drinking.
Robert Brewer, spokesman for Cheers, said the campaign was about breaking down traditional barriers and promoting conversations.
Sounds a great campaign. Promotes responsible drinking and parents talking to their kids about alcohol. Who can be against that?
Director of alcohol watchdog, Alcohol Healthwatch, Rebecca Williams said the alcohol industry shouldn’t be trusted as the expert on youth health.
“The business of the alcohol industry is to make and manufacture and market alcohol.
They’re not experts in youth health and they’re not experts in parenting.”
Williams said parents should be turning to the public health sector for information from a more neutral perspective.
“I can’t support alcohol industry groups taking over that educational space…
There are always two types of public health activists. One type genuinely support harm reduction, and will support anything that reduces harm. The other type just hates and detests the industry they target and their motivation is to damage the industry, rather than reduce harm.
If you were the former, you’d welcome an industry campaign that promotes responsible drinking and parental responsibility.
Instead we just get a reaction that industry can never be trusted and should have no role in anything – that only self appointed NGOs can be heard.