New research has sparked fears that British teenagers are being exposed to high levels of tobacco and alcohol images in online music videos.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, analysed 32 of the most popular music videos during a 12-week period.
They worked out that, overall, the videos produced 1,006 million ‘impressions’ of alcohol and 203 million of tobacco.
The worst ‘offenders’ in terms of tobacco depictions were Trumpets by Jason Derulo, and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, while Timber by Pitbull, and Drunk In Love by Beyonce delivered the most alcohol content, the study said.
According to Sky News, the researchers found that girls aged between 13 and 15 are the most exposed to the images.
Dr Jo Cranwell, a psychologist from the University of Nottingham says she has concerns about the potential for an increased risk in the uptake of smoking and drinking among teenagers.
She told Sky News:
Girls are looking at role models beyond their core family unit and their peers. They’re looking at wider society and they’re looking at celebrities on film.
They’re very attractive and they lead very aspirational lifestyles and these young girls are looking to them to learn about how they should look and how they should behave.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) says classification of content online is not required by law, but it has been taking part in a pilot with YouTube and Vevo to age rate all music videos signed to Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK that are unsuitable for under-12s.
Sky spoke to pupils at Oasis Academy in Enfield who agreed there should be more restrictions on music videos.
Alex Barlard, 17, said:
When you look at the videos you associate their smoking and drinking with wealth and power.
Dimante Bribinskaite, 17, told Sky:
I don’t pay attention to these things and it doesn’t affect me but they’re kind of role models to younger people so when they see all these drugs and alcohol they want to be like them… it should be censored.
YouTube say they now display the BBFC age classification information for UK music videos, and that users can filter out any objectionable content by switching on the ‘Restricted Mode’.