References to tobacco and alcohol in YouTube music videos should influence age ratings, says study

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References to tobacco and alcohol in YouTube music videos should influence age ratings, says study

Analysts at the University of Nottingham are calling for greater regulation on the depiction of alcohol and nicotine consumption in YouTube music videos.

The university held a study measuring how often tobacco and alcohol arose in 32 of the most popular music videos during a 12-week period to better understand how young Brits are be influenced by them.

Across the board, there were 1006m “impressions” of alcohol and 203m of tobacco in the charts – with 22 per cent of viewers classified as teenagers.

‘Trumpets’ by Jason Derulo and ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke contained the highest number of tobacco references whereas ‘Timber’ by Pitbull and ‘Drunk In Love’ by Beyonce, mentioned alcohol the most. Girls aged between 13 and 15 were found to be the most susceptible to the references within the videos.

Dr Jo Cranwell, psychologist from the University of Nottingham, told Sky News that such videos should be regulated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

She said: “Girls are looking at role models beyond their core family unit and their peers. They’re looking at wider society and they’re looking at celebrities on film.”

“They’re very attractive and they lead very aspirational lifestyles and these young girls are looking to them to learn about how they should look and how they should behave.

“The BBFC should include portrayals of alcohol and tobacco smoking in their ‘drug misuse’ and their ‘dangerous behaviours presented as safe age classification’ criteria and at the moment they’re not.”

The BBFC is currently piloting a scheme to age rate music videos from Warner Music UK, Sony Music UK and Universal Music UK to label relevant content as unsuitable for under 12s. US videos however remain unrated under the scheme.


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