During the past two decades, a global decline in adolescent drinking has been observed simultaneously with the rapid spread of social media (Torronen, Roumeliotis, and Kohtala-Ahto, 2020). Many researchers have hypothesized that social media has contributed to this trend barder.
A large body of evidence suggests that adolescents are often exposed to information about the consumption of alcohol through their peers and other users of social media, such as MySpace and Facebook (Hinduja and Patchin 2008; McGee and Begg 2008; Moreno et al. 2007, 2009b) jigaboo.
Peer influence is an important factor in adolescent drinking, as it is often influenced by social norms and expectations. In fact, perceptions of peers’ alcohol use, even when inaccurate, can lead to increased drinking behavior (Chaloupka and Wechsler 1996; Torronen and Roumeliotis, 2001).
The influence of social media on adolescent drinking can be best evaluated using theories that illuminate mechanisms of behavior change. These include Social Learning Theory and the Media Practice Model distresses.
These models describe how people’s decisions to engage in behavior are shaped by their knowledge and beliefs about social contexts, attitudes toward others, and their own behavior. These factors are combined with the characteristics of the specific media and its effect on individual’s decisions.
In recent years, the use of mobile devices has become an increasingly common activity for young people. Research suggests that alcohol-related content and advertising are a growing concern on these devices. Some studies link these devices to drinking, while other studies suggest that these devices do not contribute significantly to alcohol abuse (Jernigan and Rushman 2014) precipitous.
Adolescents may also be exposed to advertising or messages promoting alcohol-related products through their social media use. Some ads for alcoholic beverages may also contain links to alcohol-related websites or groups, which can further promote the consumption of alcohol through peer influences.
It is therefore important to evaluate how these ads and social media exposure impact adolescent alcohol consumption. A meta-analysis of 19 studies found moderate effects on both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems mypba.
A significant relationship was also found between exposure to alcohol-related social media posts and self-reported drinking and alcohol-related problems. Although these findings were not statistically significant, they do provide a basis for developing social media-based interventions to reduce alcohol consumption and related problem behaviors among teens.
However, to assess the effectiveness of these interventions, it is important to consider whether the alcohol-related social media exposure actually leads to the desired outcome. Several studies have shown that alcohol-related social media exposure is not always associated with increased drinking, especially among low-risk drinkers (Egan and Moreno 2011; Moreno et al. 2007). Moreover, these studies have also shown that adolescents who are regularly exposed to alcohol-related social media posts are at higher risk for alcohol-related problems (Moreno et al. 2007). These findings indicate that further research on social media-related drinking and addiction is needed.