Booze Crazed Web Surfing Kids


"Study: Alcohol Web Sites Attracting Kids" screams the headline on a story about a study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.

CAMY claims this is "the first public analysis of underage traffic to alcohol Web sites, finding that nearly 700,000 in-depth visits to 55 alcohol Web sites during the last six months of 2003 were initiated by underage persons." The data comes from comScore Media Metrix, but there's no figuring out from the report just how many actual people under 21 were tracked visiting these sites. ("In-depth visits" are visits exceeding two page views, which presumably excludes visitors deterred by age verification pages.)

CAMY says 700,000 visits is around 13% of the traffic to the booze company sites that were analyzed.

Taking the 700,000 figure at face value, here's another (quick and rough) way to gage the magnitude of the supposed problem: There are around 65 million people in the U.S. ages 5 through 20. Assume 59 percent of them use the Internet (that's based on 2001 data for 5-17 year olds) and that each Internet user visits 1,000 non-unique Web sites per month (based on this). Over a six month period, that's: 65,000,000 x 0.59 x 1,000 x 6 = 230,000,000,000 total visits.

So 0.0003 percent of Web site visits by underage youth are to alcohol company sites, which CAMY describes as "attractive and appealing to underage youth." Does this worry you?

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  1. How many of these hits are from pop-ups/unders/gator?

  2. The fact that stories about studies into it are hitting the wires worries me. I guess it’s time to dumb everything in society down to the “reasonable six-year-old” level in order to keep kids safe. I propose we start crating kids like veal.

  3. Does this worry you?

    Of Course, anything that is for the children and leads adults to lawsuits or prison, is very worrisome!

  4. I am outraged. I can hardly contain my boiling anger. Kids surfing to alcohol web sites. Next thing you know they’ll be having sex and doing drugs.


  5. This must be stopped at once! We can not allow our children to surf alcohol web sites. Nobody should ever taste, smell or even look at alcohol until (4 PM on) their twenty-first birthday when they will receive booze wisdom and become a responsible adult.

  6. Umm, are they able to actually drink on these sites?

  7. This goes without saying, but I will anyway. CAMY gets money from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation…a virulent anti-alcohol organization. (can I use virulent there?)

  8. Frankly, I would be worried if underage youth were NOT trying to score some beer every Friday night.

  9. Who actually goes to web sites owned by alcohol companies anyway?

    I’d wager that something approaching 95% of those “underage” visitors are college kids.

  10. This “young traffic” could be people actually useing the sites for educational purposes. I’ve gone to them to find out how/where the beer was made, when the companies started, what other brands they own, what the market in other countries, etc.

    I guess young people should be forced to live in an alcohol vacuum until the minute they turn 21.

    This was an interesting paragraph:
    “The Commission recognizes that some consumers may indicate an inaccurate date of birth. So long as web site content is not likely to appeal to minors, however, the requirement to enter date of birth may be sufficient, as the alternative is to require site visitors to provide sufficient personal information to permit verification of their adult status.”

    If, either way, nothing should appeal to youth, why do they need the birthday page?

  11. “Umm, are they able to actually drink on these sites?”

    Of course not. But kids are animals. They have absolutely no self-determination. Once they visit a booze site, they will be breaking into daddy’s liquor cabinet (which should be illegal in the first place), hijacking beer trucks, pissing in the village fountain, etc..

    The only way you can completely control an animal is to keep it in a box and away from any stimuli.

  12. I say, hooray! Hooray! Expose these kids to alcohol, and do it now!

    The parents should be doing this, too, not just I have seen this firsthand, as probably most people like me have. You go to college, and there’s 3 types of kids: those whose parents have let them be exposed to moderate amounts of alcohol, those whose parents have sheilded them completely from alcohol, and those whose parents didn’t care or weren’t there. The ones whose parents allowed them to be exposed in a controlled environment (like me) were less likely to binge drink, less likely to drink irresponsibly. The ones who had never had a drink before were the ones who went crazy, because they had no “easing into” alcohol. It went from puritanism at home, to anything goes at school…and too often, these were the kids that ended up hurting themselves or others, because they were thrown into this culture of booze without any introduction.

    So, show your kids booze, tell them what it’s all about, and even let them have some. Prepare them for the real world. You wouldn’t stick your kid in a car for the first time on his 16th birthday and say “let er rip!”, would you? That is essentially what we are doing with this “under 21 puritanism”. No, with driving, we have learners permits, etc., so that kids can ease into the experience. They learn in a controlled environment. But sending kids to college or out on their own without ever having touched a drink before is like putting a 16 year old kid, whose never been behind the wheel, on the Capitol Beltway. It makes no sense.

  13. “So 0.0003 percent of Web site visits by underage youth are to alcohol company sites, which CAMY describes as “attractive and appealing to underage youth.” Does this worry you?”

    Mike, given that said 0.0003% of website visits by underage youth represents fully 46% of all non-porn website visits by underage youth, I am outraged and appalled.

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