Social Media Deters Alcohol Consumption With Teens and Young Adults
The lives and minds of teenagers these days are becoming increasingly difficult to understand. With the amount of distractions and decisions they have on their minds, as well as the changing definition of â€œteenage yearsâ€, it is almost impossible to generalize their entire population. Some are quick to claim that todayâ€™s teens are simply narcissistic youth who grew up on social media. Indeed, social media catches the brunt of negative accusations affecting teensâ€™ lives. But a recent study out of the UK suggests that the use of social media deters alcohol consumption.
According to an original survey distributed by Demos, a UK think tank, teen drinking is on the decline. About 19 percent of 16-24 year olds now claim they do not drink at all, while 66 percent said alcohol was not very important or not at all important to their social life. Consider, on the other hand, the growing importance for this age bracket of belonging to social media communities and keeping updated on sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This would explain the 42 percent of respondents who answered that the internetâ€”whether through social media platforms, online gaming communities, or other sourcesâ€”has given them ways other than alcohol related experiences to fill their time. Social media deters alcohol consumption because, perhaps, it is just not as exciting or attractive as other available options for hanging out and relating with friends.
Not only do individuals post updates about their own lives on their social media sites, they post about other people and other people post about them. Ian Wybron, co-author of the Demos report, cited that 29 percent of young people decreased their drinking habits due to a concern over their online reputations. Therefore, social media deters alcohol consumption as internet responsibility is becoming increasingly important, not only in terms of friend circles and embarrassing drunken mistakes, but also in terms of future career prospects. Teens and youth are now aware that what they post, and what is posted about them, can and probably will be seen by potential employers.
Another interesting statistic from the study reads that about 40 percent of those who answered that they do drink felt that drinking was more important to their parentsâ€™ social life than it was to theirs. Only 30 percent saw drinking as more important to their lives than their parents. This, along with the other statistics in the study, suggest a shifting cultural dynamic that is slowly but surely replacing the typical youth social structure of the past.
Of course, there were other factors cited from the report that are also likely leading to the declining rates of youth alcohol consumption. The top reason was an increased awareness of the dangers and health consequences of alcohol use, with others citing alcohol being too expensive and increasingly difficult for minors to obtain.
Naysayers may continuously bash the social media industry and give it a bad reputation for contributing to narcissistic behavior, unreal social expectations, or negative body image. But if the findings in this report are true, and social media deters alcohol consumption, then long live the reign of the internet.