259- Social Media & Health Risk

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Based on research by Based on research by Groth, Gabrielle, Longo, Laura, & Martin, Jessica. (2016) written by Written by Megan Hart, B.S.

The majority of college students use social media frequently, however many are not aware of the consequences of posting risky behavior (e.g., excessive alcohol or drug use) on social media.

University at Albany-SUNY Researchers Gabrielle Groth and colleagues examined the relationship between college students posting risky photos and text to social media and their engaging in substance use and health risk behaviors. Users posted photos of their own use and also dared others to engage in riskier behaviors, e.g. drinking alcohol while skateboarding or alcohol mixed with oil. The results indicated that nearly 90% of college students utilize social media and of those who do, 60-85% share alcohol related content. However, only 29% students reported posting photos of themselves using, but 56% others using. Studies show students likely overestimate peers’ frequency of substance use and health risk behaviors. Thus, social media may mislead students to think everyone is doing it, thus lure them into riskier alcohol use.

Social media users, don’t feel pressure to post pictures showing you or others drinking alcohol or engaging in other health risky behaviors. Be confident in your values, decide what is best for you! And remember, half of the employers check an applicant’s social media before hiring.

References:

Groth, G. G., Longo, L. M., & Martin, J. L. (2016). Social media and college student risk behaviors: A mini-review. Addictive Behaviors, 65, 87-91. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.net.ucf.edu/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.10.003

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