DrinkWise has announced its latest campaign, ‘It’s okay to say nay,’ which targets the parents of teenagers in Australia.
The campaign was developed in response to research that shows an increase in parents supplying alcohol to their underage teenagers. While its encouraging that the research shows most 14-17 year olds (72.5 per cent) are still abstaining from drinking, an increasing amount of those that are drinking underage report their main source of alcohol was their parents.
Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has endorsed the new DrinkWise campaign to address this, urging parents to be conscious about why they should not support underage drinking. He said that the overwhelming majority (87 per cent) of parents aren’t supplying their teenagers with alcohol. This is helping to set good boundaries for young people to make responsible decisions regarding alcohol as they approach and enter adulthood.
“One of the things that I am seeing clinically is that there is a misconception out there. A lot of parents think that young people are drinking more. In fact, they are drinking less and parents need to capitalise on this trend and recognise the importance of not giving alcohol to their underage teenagers,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.
“We know that the teenage brain is a work-in-progress and we know it won’t be fully mature until the mid-twenties. Alcohol has been found to disrupt that process, particularly the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus; important for impulse control and memory.”
“My advice to parents is to help their underage teenagers make the smart choice and just say no to supplying them with alcohol.”
Medical expert Dr Andrew Rochford also endorsed the campaign, adding: “We know that teenagers want definitive boundaries set around alcohol and we know that the decision to not supply alcohol to underage teenagers in the long-term is the right one for a developing teenager – so it’s best to just say no – or in this case – nay.”
DrinkWise CEO, Simon Strahan, noted the positives of the decline in teenage drinking rates in recent years, but said more can be done to further reduce harm.
“We’ve seen more teenagers abstaining from alcohol over the past 15 years and while that is pleasing, it is worrying that of those who do drink, a significant proportion are getting that alcohol from their parents. We know that abstaining from alcohol when underage helps protect teenagers, so we want to reassure parents that setting strong boundaries around alcohol is the right thing to do,” Strahan said.
“It is critical that parents know that the overwhelming majority of other parents don’t supply their kids with alcohol– so they can be confident in saying no – and that the overwhelming majority of teenagers don’t drink so they can have that conversation with their kids and help them make the smart choice.
“Education is critical and DrinkWise is committed to working with parents to help look after the next generation.”
The DrinkWise ‘It’s okay to say nay’ campaign messaging is rolling out now on television, radio, digital and social media.