A Finnish non-profit organization known as Fragile Childhood launched an awareness campaign aimed at reducing alcohol abuse. As a part of their campaign they've created a powerful video advertisement in the hopes of deterring parents from drinking heavily especially around their children.
The ad depicts children on the playground, at a restaurant and in the backseat of a car being approached by monsters and people with terrifying masks. The monsters are sitting across from children at a table, buckling their seatbelt and holding their hand.
The ad concludes with the question "how do our children see us when we've been drinking?" The video is one of the most effective PSAs today at getting across a message to parents about their alcoholism and how it affects their children.
Heavy Drinking and Its Effects on Finland
Although the images in the video may be frightening, this type of powerful advertising is necessary in a country like Finland where alcohol has become a serious problem. After an alcohol tax drop in 2004, drinking has become the number one cause of death in the Nordic nation.
Finland is known for its heavy alcohol consumption, a problem with a number of likely causes. The Finnish have a culture of heavy drinking and especially binge drinking.
The weather in Finland is particularly cold and dark during the winters which can cause depression and most Finnish people are simply unhappier and tend to drink more in the colder months. Alcohol is actually somewhat expensive and difficult to obtain in Finland because of restrictions limiting the time it is sold through government-owned and supervised shops called the Alko.
So when Finnish people do drink they tend to drink quite a lot to make the most of the alcohol when it is available. The country also has high unemployment rates which can contribute to the high level of alcohol consumption.
Fragile Childhood's Work with Children
The alcohol mortality rate in Finland increased steadily in the past twenty years and drastically went up in the middle years of the 2000s. Healthcare visits and hospital admittances due to intoxication also increased recently as well as drunk driving offenses and road fatalities.
The statistics have improved in the past few years but alcohol remains a significant problem in Finland. The non-profit organization, Fragile Childhood, seeks to influence adults to reduce their drinking habits and focuses on parents to consider how their behavior affects young children.
The non-profit offers support for children and young people who are coping with an alcoholic parent. They offer an online service called Shadowworld that provides professional help, information and tools for young people suffering in an alcoholic family.
The program began in 1986 and continues to work with children while also attempting to educate parents through anti-drinking ads and public service announcements.
The Finnish advertisement and the organization itself are part of an effort to show how drinking can have a harmful effect on a person's childhood in a way that affects them for the rest of their lives. When children grow up with alcoholic parents they experience shame and guilt over their parent's behavior and also develop trust issues that remain problematic as adults.
Alcoholic parents may be unaware of how much their drinking harms their children and has a permanent impact on them. Adults who experienced a childhood with an alcoholic parent often deal with issues of depression, anxiety, resentment and hostility that makes it difficult to cope with their life. The Fragile Childhood advertisement illustrates how frightening and nightmarish it can be to have a parent who is always drunk.