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Reduction of Alcohol and Gambling Ads Seen by Children

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The latest report by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) suggests that children’s exposure to alcohol and gambling ads on TV, such as slot games ads, has declined substantially.

The report also notes a significant decrease in children’s exposure to alcohol and high-fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) product advertisements.

The report found that since 2010, exposure to alcohol ads has fallen by 80%, from 3.2 ads per week to 0.7 ads per week in 2023. Similarly, exposure to HFSS product ads has decreased by two-thirds since 2016.

The ASA conducts regular monitoring of ads, particularly those for age-restricted products. The report is published every two years and the latest indicates that children’s exposure to gambling and alcohol ads on TV continues to decrease.

The study, focusing on viewers under the age of 16, shows a 40% decrease in the number of gambling ads seen by this age group since 2010.

Regional Differences in Number of Ads Children View

The average number of gambling ads viewed per week by children has dropped from 3.0 in 2010 to 1.8 in 2023. The ASA’s findings also highlight regional differences across the UK.

In 2023, children in England experienced the lowest exposure to gambling ads, averaging 1.7 per week, while those in Scotland had the highest, with 2.3 ads per week.

Exposure to alcohol TV ads was broadly consistent across the nations, ranging from 1.2 ads per week in Northern Ireland to 0.7 ads per week in England, Scotland, and Wales.

The findings suggest that children are seeing fewer ads for gambling, alcohol, and HFSS products on TV, in a continuing downward trend.

Across the nations in 2023, children’s exposure to HFSS TV ads ranged from 3.8 ads per week in Northern Ireland to 5.3 ads per week in Scotland.

Decline Attributed to Changing Habits but Concerns Remain Over Online Content

The report states that while the continued decline in children’s exposure to age-restricted TV ads is encouraging, much of that is due to changing media habits. The ASA says that they are also continuing to conduct proactive project work looking at what ads children are seeing online.

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The ASA stated: “Projects like Exposure Reports, our proactive monitoring sweeps using world-leading Avatar technology, and the cutting-edge 100 Children Report, help us ensure that our regulation is thorough and effective in providing appropriate protections for children.”

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