Teens on Facebook More Likely to Drink Than Their Non-Social Networking Peers

Filed under: In The News, Teens, Alcohol & Drugs, Media, Teen Culture, Behavior: Teens

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Teens who drink alcohol spend more time on the computer for fun -- listening to music and updating their online profiles -- than their non-drinking peers. Credit: Getty Images

Some teens on Facebook are really putting the "social" in social networking -- boozing it up while they check in on their friends online.

New research finds teens who drink alcohol spend more time on the computer for fun -- listening to music and updating their online profiles -- than their non-drinking peers.

The study, published in the online edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors and authored by Weill Cornell Medical College public health researcher Dr. Jennifer Epstein, looked at anonymous surveys from 264 teens, a university press release reports.

"While the specific factors linking teenage drinking and computer use are not yet established, it seems likely that adolescents are experimenting with drinking and activities on the Internet," she says in the release. "In turn, exposure to online material such as alcohol advertising or alcohol-using peers on social networking sites could reinforce teens' drinking."

Epstein, an assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, says kids are getting online at younger ages, and parents need to monitor their computer and alcohol use.

"According to a national study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than half of parents of teenagers had filters installed on the computers their child uses to block content parents find objectionable, yet many parents do not use any form of parental monitoring, particularly for older teens," Epstein adds in the release.

The Weill Cornell survey found that teens who said they drank alcohol in the last month used a computer more hours per week -- not counting homework -- than those who did not, the release states.

The researchers also discovered drinking was linked to more social networking and listening to and downloading music. No strong link was found between drinking and online shopping or playing video games, however, according to the release.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.