The Australian Open may be a hit with tennis fans, but it’s not all aces for local parents.
A recent poll showed nine out of 10 Australian parents are opposed to the high volume of alcohol advertising children are exposed to during sporting events.
While according to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education poll, two in three are calling for a total embargo, believing it sends dangerous and mixed messages to kids.
But the lines are more blurred in Echuca-Moama, with many locals arguing an advertising ban is not the answer.
“I personally don’t think advertising is the problem, it’s really up to parents to educate their kids on alcohol and build a healthy mindset,” Moama father-of-two Troy Jarrett said.
“Sport is for everyone, not just kids. And if kids are watching, there’ll most likely be parents with them, making sure what they’re watching is okay.
“Often it seems like there are too many parents looking for an excuse as to why their kids aren’t what they wanted them to be, instead of looking at themselves and whether they could be better parents.”
However, opinion is divided, with Moama mother Vera Curnow among parents opposing the torrent of alcohol advertising during sports.
“How can any parent think it is acceptable? But then again, many let their kids watch video hits too, with highly sexualised video clips,” she said.
“Our world has changed so much that it sort of makes billboard advertising seem less offensive in some ways.”
With alcohol sponsorship helping sustain sporting events and clubs across the country, Echuca Football Netball Club president Ash Byrne said an advertising ban could do more harm than good.
“It’s a tough one, because you’ve got alcohol, gambling, cigarettes – a whole gamut of advertising around sports,” Mr Byrne said.
“Sporting clubs still need sponsors and unfortunately many of those will be related to alcohol and gambling.
“However, I don’t think the solution is just to put our heads in the sand and cut that advertising. We need to deal with it and encourage moderation.”
Moama Football Netball Club president David Grubb agreed cutting advertising wasn’t the answer.
“Perhaps it would be beneficial to change the time of day when these ads are on, to make sure they’re appropriate for kids to watch,” he said.
“But in the end it comes back to education and informing kids on how to drink responsibly.”
The poll of 1003 Australian parents, conducted by YouGov Galaxy, showed three-quarters were concerned children were being exposed to alcohol through commercial arrangements with sporting codes.
A trend which FARE policy and research director Amy Ferguson said galvanised the nation’s ‘toxic’ drinking culture.
“It’s undeniable that Aussie children are being exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion through sport; the Australian Open alone has four alcohol sponsors,” she said.
“We know an overwhelming majority of Australian parents want to see an end to toxic alcohol sponsorship in sport, and the government must step forward to protect our children.”