Age-gates prove ineffective on alcohol websites
Alcohol brand websites attempt to prevent underage users through “age-gates”, however, alcohol researcher Dr. Adam Barry found that these are often ineffective.
“Alcohol brand age-gates are weak, at best, and likely an inconsequential barrier that someone with limited math abilities can easily overcome,” Barry said.
Barry is a professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. He is health behavior social scientist, with specific training and expertise in alcohol use, alcohol-induced impairment and intoxication. He said exposure to alcohol advertising can alter an adolescent’s views, perceptions and expectations on alcohol consumption.
“Exposure to alcohol advertising has been linked to underage alcohol-related behaviors and intentions to consume alcohol,” Barry said.
Age-gates are virtual barriers preventing entry to a website. Alcohol brand websites employ them to ensure the user attempting entry is of legal drinking age. Typically, this is in the form of asking a yes or no question such as ‘Are you 21 years of age or older?’ or requesting the user enter their birthdate.
“As we outlined in our research, for the vast majority of alcohol websites we examined, persons could continuously enter ages until they eventually provided a date of birth indicating they were older than 21,” Barry said. “Also, there is no process to verify the accuracy of the date provided.”
Barry’s research examined alcohol webpages, however, he also found that alcohol advertising on social media platforms is problematic. He said we should want to ensure that young people are not inappropriately marketed to, don’t interact with inappropriate content and don’t fall prey to predators, but this is not the case.
“Unfortunately, the current strategies employed, such as asking for a birthdate, feel more like industry is concerned about their liability, as opposed to the welfare of users,” Barry said.
He hopes to raise awareness about how marketing of alcohol brands is unregulated. The brands themselves control the “safety measures” in place, rather than a larger entity.
“Currently, there is no formal legislation in the United States prohibiting alcohol advertisements that appeal to adolescents, the placement of alcohol advertising or how the age affirmation process and outcomes should be implemented,” Barry said.
About the Writer
Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.Articles by Heather
For media inquiries, contact our Media Relations Coordinator, Ashley Green
In recent years, the keto diet, or ketogenic diet, gained popularity among dieters looking to shed extra pounds. Kinesiology expert Dr. Richard Kreider said these low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets can be beneficial for some people trying to lose weight, but may not be helpful for active individuals or athletes.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded Department of Health and Kinesiology associate professor Dr. Lei-Shih (Lace) Chen a three year grant totaling $1 million.
Dr. Michelle Kwok, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, sought to find the key processes in reaching shared meaning in STEM contexts.
Research shows a number of factors can influence a student’s literacy development including both the home and school environment. However, of all factors, the most influential is the quality of instruction a student receives.
Dr. Beverly Irby, director of the Education Leadership Research Center, said she hopes teachers seek support and guidance through virtual mentoring and coaching.
Dr. Christine Stanley, professor of higher education and the holder of the Ruth Harrington Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership, has been named Regents Professor by the Texas A&M University System.
Military life demands sacrifice from those who choose to serve. It also demands sacrifice from the nearly 1 million military-connected children who did not choose to serve, but proudly support their parents.
Dr. Paul Hernandez, associate professor of science education, is working to increase diversity in STEM fields, specifically in terms of gender in geosciences.
Alcohol researcher finds the lack of safety measures in alcohol brand marketing impacts the underage population.
Dr. Zohreh Eslami, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, was led to the latest findings on pre-service teachers’ lack of familiarity with different varieties of English in the world because of her interest in studying intercultural communication.