London: YouTube music videos that involve alcohol often glamorise drinking, objectify women and use sexual imagery or lyrics - encouraging teens to binge drink and abuse alcohol, a new UK study has found.
The research is an extension of previous work which found that teenagers in the UK were heavily exposed to images of alcohol and tobacco in YouTube music, effectively glamorising the habits and promoting underage drinking and smoking.
Scientists from the University of Nottingham specifically studied the portrayal of alcohol content in popular YouTube music videos, analysing song lyrics and visual imagery in 49 UK Top 40 videos previously found to contain alcohol content.
They found that content involving alcohol was also linked to sexualised imagery or lyrics and the objectification of women, and that alcohol was linked to personal image, lifestyle and sociability.
Some videos also showed encouragement of excessive drinking including those with branded alcohol, with no negative consequences to the drinker shown.
"Among young people particularly binge drinking is also linked to criminal behaviour, unprotected sex, progression to illegal drug use and is a risk factor for alcohol dependence in later life," Joanne Cranwell, from the University of Nottingham.
"We know that alcohol imagery and references in advertising, films, TV and music videos are a risk factor for uptake of drinking in young people but we wanted to pin down the exact extent," said Cranwell.
The study of top music charts found that the overt use of celebrity endorsement or brand ambassadors of alcohol products in music videos contravenes voluntary codes of practice in the alcohol industry.
The study was published in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine.