Alcohol and Social Media
After the turn of the century, social media platforms gained momentum and became a way for advertisers to promote their products, not just through television commercials. Now the mainstream media can market almost anything through a social media ad. Media references to alcohol through social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Furthermore, these digital advertisements have a significant influence on consumers who witness them. As a result, there is a correlation between media influence on alcohol consumption and the risk of exposing children under 21. Studies have discovered that continued exposure to alcohol advertising can have serious repercussions.
In addition, if you, someone you love, believe that you might have a problem with alcohol, call us today. We understand that this is a difficult time, and you might not know where to begin. However, we can help guide you and make this process easier at 614-502-6247. Sobriety from alcohol is possible, and we want you to have a happier, healthier life.
Social media can influence substance abuse. Keep reading to learn more about how and why there is a connection between media and alcohol abuse. Contact one of our experts today if you require more information.
Social Media Platforms
There are different forms of social media, but they all have allowed some form of sharing. Whether that be pictures on Instagram, blog posts on Facebook, or short videos on Snapchat, these platforms allow for mostly anything to be shared and viewed. In addition, they have allowed companies and organizations to advertise their services or products. These social platforms are now a new environment for media references to alcohol and alcohol-related content.
Facebook became available to the public in 2006 after launching in 2004 and creating Twitter in 2006. For instance, an article from the NCBI called the “Influence of Social Media on Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Young Adults” found that, “as of 2013, 77 percent of adolescents used Facebook and 24 percent used Twitter; among young adults, the corresponding percentages were 86 percent and 27 percent”.
Furthermore, young people and young adults are on these sites. Unfortunately, they can easily see ads for alcohol or pro-alcohol images because they don’t regulate advertisements like this. According to the scholarly article, “such online displays of alcohol behavior have been correlated with offline alcohol behavior and risky drinking.” Therefore, there is a social media influence on alcohol consumption.
To summarize, it is essential to know who uses social media. The short answer; everyone. Pew Research Center conducted a study on the age ranges of people that use social media. For example, according to the survey, it is:
- 88% of 18 to 29-year-olds
- 78% of 30 to 49-year-olds
- 64% of 50 to 64-year-olds
- 37% of 65 years and older
All of these people use a social media platform frequently enough in one form or another. In addition, even the people who grew up without the internet have gotten involved in these mediums. The age-range shows how prevalent social media is in our culture and how influential it can be. With such drastic differences in age, the content that gets posted varies. However, advertisements media references to alcohol towards the 21 and older age group. But what about the 18-year-old who sees that advertisement daily? Continuous exposure to alcohol content can cause subconscious beliefs about alcohol.
Social Media and the Brain’s Reward System
Why would social media affect someone’s opinion and feelings towards alcohol? Social media connects to our brain’s reward system. Likewise, drugs and alcohol have a connection to the brain’s reward system. The reward center is a nickname for when our brain releases endorphins and dopamine. They are how we perceive pleasure. For example, socializing releases dopamine, and our minds register that action as beneficial because it makes us happy.
In addition, according to King University, “accruing likes on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram causes activation in the brain circuitry implicated in reward, including the striatum and ventral tegmental area, regions also implicated in the experience of receiving ‘Likes’ from others.”
When someone receives positive feedback for their posts, such as a ‘like’ or a comment, they experience affirmation. However, it can be highly addictive, and it can cause your brain to crave these kinds of responses and attention. Social media habits start to form, and thus, an individual could be on these platforms for multiple hours a day.
Also, while on these platforms, you get exposure to influential material. You can become accustomed to continual exposure to online display patterns without even knowing it. Since social media mixes with one’s reward system, there is a risk of these platforms controlling and heavily influencing you just as drugs and alcohol can.
If you are suffering from addiction to alcohol, and are ready to get some help, then call us today. Our specialists will help you get the help that you need today. You do not need to suffer alone. We are here to help you start a new journey to a happier and healthier life.
Exposure to Alcohol Advertisement
We know from statistics that most age groups use social media platforms daily. There is no way to directly target a specific age group if you are an advertiser. Moreover, the advertisement is on the platform, and everyone can see it. Regarding social media and alcohol advertising, every age group has exposure to that picture or video. As a result, researchers have conducted studies to see if there is a media influence on alcohol consumption.
Furthermore, Michigan State University administered an experiment involving social media alcohol advertisements and participants’ inclination to drink alcohol. They took 121 people and had them view advertisements on Facebook. Half of the group had exposure to a beer ad, and the other group saw a bottled water ad. The participants were offered a gift card as an incentive for engaging. They could choose either a gift card to a coffee shop or a bar.
According to study results, “MSU researchers found that when participants in a study saw ads touting beer, as opposed to those selling bottled water, they were more inclined to consider drinking alcohol.” 73% of the participants exposed to the beer advertisement chose the gift card for the bar. And only 55% of the participants who witnessed the water advertisement chose the bar gift card. This study brought to light the media influence on alcohol consumption within a social media platform set.
In addition, Saleem Alhabash is the Assistant Professor of advertising and public relations at Michigan State University. He was the head of this study, and once the results came through, he said, “what this tells us is there is an effect, and it can be the exposure to these messages. It primes them to think about alcohol.”
If these messages can influence someone’s choices surrounding alcohol, it is time to consider the individuals’ ages seeing these advertisements. Some young adults and adolescents use social media.
Moreover, an article from the NCBI called the “Influence of Social Media on Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Young Adults” states that “over 1 billion people worldwide use Facebook. The site specifies a minimum age of 13 to participate in the network and requires the user to enter their age when creating an account. Still, there is evidence that children under age 13 participate in Facebook by providing a false age”.
13-years old is a very young age to be exposed to alcohol content. Children could be even more youthful than 13 using these platforms, seeing posts they don’t even understand yet. Repetitive media references to alcohol can cause subconscious opinions, beliefs, and urges towards alcohol consumption.
Peer Alcohol Behavior
Social media can influence one’s opinions and behaviors. Social media and alcohol advertising are connected and can harm an individual who is exposed. But media references to alcohol can come from friends too. Social media tends only to show the ‘good’ or ‘fun’ sides of one’s lifestyle. For instance, typical lifestyle pictures can include of friends at the beach, dinner dates, and gushy posts with significant others. These images influence the ‘followers’ who see them.
In addition, consider the age range, someone under the age of 21 can see a photo of someone holding a beer or glass of wine. At Michigan State University, the research team said it perfectly, “alcohol messages are frequently weaved into a person’s personal Facebook messages. A person may post a photo of themselves having a drink in a bar, not thinking that his or her 13-year-old nephew may be viewing it”.
By posting alcohol-related content, someone could be unknowingly influencing an adolescent. It all connects with how social media affects our brains. We register the photo as someone being happy. They look like they are having a good time. However, alcohol can explain why they are experiencing that kind of joy. Usually, the captions talk about how they are ‘too blessed to be stressed’ or ‘relaxed’ or ‘happy.’ The implication can be that alcohol is one source of happiness. Call us today if you are struggling with alcohol addiction. We are here to help you with whatever addiction you may be battling. It is important to remember that you are not alone.
Peer Support Around Alcohol
You don’t have to be a 13-year-old to be influenced by alcohol. You can be the legal age and still face the consequences of media references to alcohol. Fellow peers and friends tend to support each other on social media. For instance, they can praise each other on selfies or photos of vacations. However, this encouragement can have a negative side effect if the support is for alcohol consumption. Drinking with friends isn’t harmful or unsafe. But the portrayal of constant, continual drinking or partying is how social media influences alcohol abuse.
According to the University of Michigan’s Prevention Research Center, “Dr. Sarah Stoddard and her colleagues explored the relationship between young adults’ attitudes regarding alcohol and other drug use, the quantity of alcohol and other drug content online (e.g., pictures, wall posts), and alcohol and marijuana use. The results revealed that the number of alcohol-related posts on a person’s social networking profile corresponded with alcohol use frequency. The more pictures and posts on their site, the greater the self-reported alcohol use”.
Furthermore, the more posts with alcohol, the more likely that people are consuming alcohol a great deal. The ‘likes’ that continue to generate dopamine and encourage the brain’s reward system is how social media influences alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Alcohol abuse can happen accidentally over time. There is a risk of being influenced by alcohol advertisements and peer behavior. Subconscious exposure is how social media affects alcohol abuse. Your friends might have supported you to party and post photos with alcohol. However, you might have seen your peers doing fun activities with alcohol. Whatever the case may be, you might be more inclined to think positively about alcohol and its consumption.
If you or a loved one believe you are struggling with alcohol abuse, there are some signs you can look out for. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, be aware if you:
- Are unable to limit the amount of alcohol you consume
- Experience nausea
- Are spending a considerable amount of time drinking
- Start to reduce time spend with people unless it involves alcohol.
- Are craving alcohol or have a strong urge to drink
- Experience sweating and shaking
- Start to be unable to manage your obligation at work, home, or school.
- Start to reduce time spend with people unless it involves alcohol.
To summarize, if you, or someone you care about, have experience with any of these symptoms, please call us today. We are here to help you. Social media and alcohol advertising can produce a false reality surrounding alcohol consumption. When you call us we can help guide you back into a safe, happy, healthy, and sober lifestyle.
Written by Julia Bashaw
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