Computer Use Linked to Teenage Drinking

A recent study involving 264 teenagers found that computer use is directly proportional to alcohol consumption, according to a feature on Medical News Today. Teens who often use their computers for social networking, downloading music, and other recreational activities also drink more than those who do not spend as much time on computers.

underage drinkingA report in the online edition of the Addictive Behaviors journal showed a survey done by the Weill Cornell Medical College headed by Dr. Jennifer Epstein linking the use of computers to teenage drinking. In the activity that they conducted, teens aged 13 to 17 years old who had their share of alcoholic beverages in the last month also registered more hours spent on a computer, not including school-related work done using it. There was also a link between frequent social networking and music downloading to their alcohol consumption. No significant relationship was established, though, for video games or online shopping and teenage drinking.

According to Dr. Epstein, “exposure to online material such as alcohol advertising or alcohol-using peers on social networking sites could reinforce teens’ drinking.”  Children become involved in the Internet at very early ages and so parents must see to it that they involve themselves on online activities of kids. Although parents use filters to block Internet content which is not child-friendly, they often neglect cases of adolescents who gain access to the Web.

At 12 or 13, teens begin their experiments and encounters with alcohol. It is, therefore, important that parents establish good communication and a conduct of discipline at home. In addition, rules on computer use should also be implemented.

The Internet may be an important tool in our lives but it can also become a distraction and a means for children to take on bad habits. It is important that parents closely monitor their kids and not underestimate the impact of technology on the youth.

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  1. #1 by Zachary Chastain on May 27, 2011 - 7:08 am

    Correlation does not suggest causation. Just because many of the younger people who use computers also drink doesn’t mean they do it *because* they spend a lot of time online. I spend most of my day online, and I’ve never taken a drink of alcohol in my life, or really even felt half tempted to.

    Advertising isn’t just some sort of mind control transmission that makes you have a beer against your will. Just because you see the ads doesn’t mean you have to do it. If you respond positively to an ad it’s because you make a conscious decision that you want what is being advertised, not because the ad influenced you to drink. Alcohol is advertised everywhere too, tv, radio, billboards, in the grocery store, it’s in movies and tv shows, your friends and family do it, you can’t really pin it all on one form of advertising, it’s a cultural phenomenon that has permeated society world-wide.

    It all comes down to personal choice in my opinion. No one and nothing is going to influence me to do something if I don’t want to do it. I’ve seen alcohol abuse and other substance abuse ruin people’s lives in my immediate family and friends, and that’s why I’ve never been a drinker, smoker, or drug user, and I never will be.

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