- Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking
- Back to School
- Cellphone Parenting
- Character Strengths and Life Skills
- Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls
- Early Childhood
- Facebook, Instagram, and Social
- Learning with Technology
- Marketing to Kids
- Mental Health
- News and Media Literacy
- Privacy and Internet Safety
- Screen Time
- Sex, Gender, and Body Image
- Special Needs and Learning Difficulties
- Technology Addiction
- Violence in Media
Should I worry that my teen is following Smirnoff on Twitter?
Twitter is one of the few social media services with an age gate that requires users to input a legal drinking age to follow an alcohol brand. If your teen gets tweets from Smirnoff, she lied about her age. But since there's no mechanism to verify the age a user inputs and no consequences for lying, she may not view her actions as serious.
Rules that govern alcohol marketing on social media (yes, they exist!) require that brands only place "digital marketing communications" on services where 71.6 percent of the audience is of legal purchasing age. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram all surpass that threshold -- and every teen you know probably uses these services. So you see the problem.
What to do? Talk to your teen about why she's following an alcohol brand. It doesn't necessarily mean she's drinking. In fact, since online friends can see whom you follow, she may just be doing it to appear cool -- especially if all of her friends are doing it. Explain the risks of underage drinking, and encourage her to follow people or companies that are more age-appropriate.