While the most recent statistics show 39% of 11 to 15-year-olds have tried alcohol, the average parent surveyed thought the figure was 57%. The figures were even more disparate when it comes to the number of youngsters drinking at least once a week. The parents surveyed thought a third of 11 to 15-year-olds would indulge weekly, whereas the actual figure is 5%.
The ComRes survey showed that one in seven parents mistakenly believe young people are more likely to drink alcohol than five years ago, when in fact official statistics show a continual fall.
The poll was commissioned by AB InBev UK to coincide with the company’s annual Global Be(er) Responsible Day, a celebration dedicated to promoting the importance of responsible drinking. The company launched a three-year partnership with the Alcohol Education Trust in 2013 with support focused on helping parents talk to their children about responsible drinking.
Helena Conibear, director of the trust, said: “These findings reveal the perception gap between parents’ views of children’s drinking and the reality. This emphasises the importance of education initiatives in ensuring parents, as the key suppliers of alcohol to those under the age of 18, are aware that drinking, particularly under the age of 15 is not the norm.”
To coincide with the survey results the trust announced the appointment of a new parent training coordinator in the North West of England whose role is to provide advice directly to parents in schools. This appointment builds on the success of the trust’s existing coordinator in the North East.
Inge Plochaet, president of AB InBev UK & Ireland, said the poll highlighted “the gulf between parents’ perceptions of young people and how they actually behave towards alcohol”.
She said: “That’s why it’s so important that parents are given all the help they need to talk to their children about responsible drinking. This is a priority for AB InBev UK, and we are proud of the focus we place on supporting parents to have those conversations through our Family Talk programme and our partnership with the Alcohol Education Trust.”