When teens see the social media postings depicting people celebrating with alcoholic beverages, and they see the posts telling how happy the drinking person was while they were celebrating, it can cause the teen to think that drinking alcohol makes you have more fun, and to think that the average person consumes more alcohol than they actually do.

Binge Drinking

Teens are often guilty of participating in binge drinking episodes. Teens are trying to fit into the social culture that surrounds them, and they are trying to find what is right for them. Seeing images of people that the children look up to, or know, drinking and having a great time makes kids think that by drinking they will have more fun, so this leads to kids over-indulging in alcohol.

Social Media can also do good things

When kids see fewer pictures glorifying drinking and partying on social media sites like Facebook they tend to drink less, and be more realistic about alcohol consumption.

Social media posts can target youth with ideals that drinking is not a positive way to have fun. It can also help young people to understand the realistic of how much their friends are actually drinking.

When teens see a picture where one of their friends is holding a glass of wine, or a beer, and they assume that their friend drank a large amount of alcohol, when the truth is that their friend may have only consumed a very small amount.

The Study

A study of one thousand five hundred and sixty three tenth grade students in Los Angeles was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study showed that more than thirty four percent of the teens had friends on their social media pages that talked about attending parties where drinking was occurring. Twenty percent of the teens said that they had friends on their social media accounts that showed pictures of them drinking and enjoying alcoholic beverages.

When the teens were told to private message their friends and tell them how much alcohol they actually consumed, so that their friends could compare the amount of alcohol they consumed with their friends, the recipients of these messages reduced the amount that they were drinking by an average of fifty percent.

What we can learn

Teens are easily influenced by the words and actions of other people. As adults who have teens on our social media pages, we can take this message to heart and be more careful about the images we post, and the words we say.

We can all participate in campaigns to be honest with the teens that share our social media pages so these teens see reality, and do not make assumptions that could cost them their lives. Keeping information about drinking private, or by at least being honest and saying we had one glass of wine before dinner, can possibly save a teen from binge drinking.