Children 'at risk' from alcohol ads on Facebook

THOUSANDS of Scots children are being exposed to alcohol advertising as a result of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to new research.

More than a third of Scots aged 14 have already seen alcohol marketing on a social networking site, say the team from Stirling University. A child's chances of starting to drink early are directly linked to their exposure to alcohol marketing, according to the same study.

The researchers say regulation of "new media" is lagging behind and this raises concern about the impact of alcohol adverts on youngsters.

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The team, from the university's Institute for Social Marketing, found a statistically-significant link between "higher awareness of alcohol marketing" at 12 and 13 and "increased frequency of drinking at follow-up".

The research, published by Oxford University Press in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, went further than previous studies and looked at new media.

They concluded: "Technological advancement in new media develops at such a pace regulation tends to lag behind."