Giving Alcohol to Children Is Probably Bad, Say Studies

A survey of British under-15s found that kids in wealthier areas were more likely to drink at home and grow up to be regular drinkers.

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Dec 9 2015, 1:25pm

(Photo via Frederick Dennstedt)

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Middle-class parents are accidentally turning their children into posh raving alkies by giving them wine at home from a young age, according to a new study. Very hard to relate to this because I was introduced to alcohol the proper way—on a cold bench in a children's park, a load of 20p pieces collected and given to an older teen to go Londis and get a communal bottle of White Lightning, more backwash than alcohol, more spit than fizz—but then I have been to posh friends' houses and seen them have a tiny glass of wine poured for them by their dad and I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that this is what posh dads always say when pouring their sons or daughters a special small posh glass of wine: "This is what they do in France." Always, every time. Posh dads are incapable of pouring half glasses of wine without mentioning France. "They thin it down with water," posh dads are saying. "And the women there... by God." Posh dad getting a faraway look in his eye, like he gets when you give him a catalogue of gilets. "By God."

Anyway, here are the top-level facts from the study, in case you want them: It's this whole pioneering thing from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, a body funded by the UK Department of Health, that surveyed some 120,000 under-15s to document their drinking habits. They found that 70 percent of under-15s in the least-deprived areas (posh kids) had tried alcohol, compared to 50 percent of teens in the most deprived areas (scratters). Posh kids were twice as likely as the underclass scum to be regular drinkers (8 percent vs. 4 percent), and more likely to grow up to be current drinkers (66 percent vs. 44 percent).

It's technically legal to give children between the ages of five and 16 to drink alcohol at home or on private premises (FIVE. IMAGINE GIVING A JÄGERBOMB TO A FIVE-YEAR-OLD. THE CARNAGE.) but obviously, in light of the latest research, charities such as Alcohol Concern are suggesting that maybe you don't do that. "Studies have shown that parents are often the main source of alcohol for underage drinkers," director of campaigns Tom Smith told The Times. "All the research indicates that the younger someone starts drinking, the more likely they are to have problems with alcohol in later life. The evidence suggests that the safest thing parents can do is set clear rules and boundaries for their children about alcohol, and give them an alcohol-free childhood."

So yeah: Not to be a party pooper or anything, but the overwhelming advice properly seems to be "don't give alcohol to children." I know, I know. Health and safety gone finally mad. You can't say "mad" these days, though, can you? You've got to say "mentally misshapen." More bureaucracy from Brussels, no doubt. The EU is a joke. Top you up? You know who has it right about Europe: Nigel. Shame about his shifty eyes, otherwise I would have voted for him. Oh, go on then, another dribble. Thing about Europe is—apart from the French women—it's mostly pointless. More moussaka? Nigel isn't afraid to say: Bomb the fuckers and leave the ski slopes for us. What this country needs is a kick up the backside. Listen, can you kids get me some ganja? I'm deeply, deeply unhappy.

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