Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce Social Media Challenge promotes role models

WIMMERA Drug Action Taskforce will reignite its Social Media Challenge to highlight the platform’s influence on drinking culture.

The challenge, which ran for the first time last year, asks people to avoid posting or liking images, tweets or memes during December that contain alcohol.

Taskforce co-ordinator Sally Pymer said the initiative encouraged people to be social media role models, and do their part for minimising alcohol-related harm.

She said the statistics for alcohol-related harm and death were shocking.

“Every 10 seconds a human being dies because of alcohol, and use of social media can contribute to this statistic,” she said. 

“The more people are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to drink alcohol, and at risky rates.

“Alcohol companies are investing more in social media than ever before.

“You might be doing the work for alcohol companies and they are reaping the benefits.

“You might post an image on social media of you or your friends drinking a particular brand of alcohol. Your friends see this, comment or ‘like’ and the alcohol brand can be distributed widely.”

Ms Pymer said exposure to alcohol messages also affected people’s intentions to drink, and drinking behaviour.

She said the taskforce was committed to promoting healthy people and safe alcohol consumption.

“At least 103 million minors are being exposed to alcohol marketing online on a monthly basis,” she said.

“The dangers of alcohol on a still growing brain are well documented. More than 90 per cent of teenagers have been exposed to at least one incidence of harm related to alcohol over the past 12 months.

“If you want to do something about it, just changing your behaviours for one month might make a difference.”

Ms Pymer said people could call her on 53621200 or email sally.p@grampianscommunityhealth.org.au to register for the challenge.

The Social Media Challenge follows the taskforce’s 31-day August Winter Challenge, which encouraged people to complete a different activity each day during the month.

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