The Northern Star

Drinking culture blamed

A LOCAL child culture expert is calling for a massive anti-alcohol campaign, like the successful anti-smoking crusade, to help rein in under-age drinking.

Associate Professor Karen Brooks said the Australian culture of drinking was teaching children that excessive alcohol consumption was normal.

“Generally speaking, we live in a culture that actually upholds or condones alcohol with all different sorts of celebrations,” the Southern Cross University academic said in the wake of Australia Day brawling at Lennox Head. “From a very young age, kids witness excess alcohol intake associated with leisure times.”

She said the custom was reflected in popular culture and naturalised, and young people were fast becoming desensitised to television advertisements designed to shock them into avoiding alcohol.

The anti-smoking campaign had been successful, she said.

“We have kids now telling their parents not to smoke. We need to do a very similar thing with drinking and start talking about it at a very young age,” she said. Children in rural areas were particularly at risk because there were fewer social outlets for them.



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