New research indicates that UK teens are heavily exposed to alcohol and tobacco images and lyrics in YouTube music videos. Those exposed the most are 13-15 year olds, and girls, the findings suggest.

Relatively little attention has been paid to YouTube content, despite the fact that some music videos contain extensive alcohol and tobacco content, which is often depicted in a positive light, and that these videos tend to be most popular with younger audiences, say the researchers.

They used the results of two nationally representative online surveys of British adults and teens to calculate viewing figures for the 32 most popular music videos of top 40 chart songs in the UK during the 12 weeks of November 3, 2013 to January 19, 2014.

And they analyzed the number of 10 second intervals in each of the 32 videos to estimate the total number of images/depictions/lyrics (impressions) of alcohol and tobacco content.

In all, 2068 teens aged between 11 and 18, and 2232 adults from the age of 19 onwards completed the surveys, and the results suggested that the average percentage of viewing across the 32 music videos was 22% for the teens and 6% for the adults.

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