The study conducted by Ipsos MORI shows online networking sites could have a significant influence on young people’s perceptions of normal drinking behaviour.
It also revealed that more than one in ten (13%) children as young as 10-12 years old have seen their friends drunk online.
The research findings show how the influence of peers increases steeply with age; 7% of 10-11 year olds report being encouraged to drink by someone their age or younger, rising to 37% by the time they are 15-17 years old.
A fifth (19%) of 10-17 year olds say that all or most of their friends drink alcohol.
The alcohol education charity is encouraging parents to talk to their children about alcohol in their pre-teen years and help them resist the pressure to drink.
Anne Foster, director, marketing and communications at Drinkaware, said: “Children as young as 10 are seeing drunkenness normalised through images - whether this is online, in the media or through their own experiences. Undoubtedly, friends are influential in shaping the way young people think about alcohol, but just as influential are parents who can provide support and advice to help children cope with these pressures.
“Our research shows that most children will go to their parents first for information and advice about alcohol. While that is reassuring for parents to know, it also shows how important it is that parents feel confident and well prepared to have those conversations.”