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Alcohol ads on social media influence drinking habits: Study

Alcohol ads on social media influence drinking habits: Study

30 June | 0 Comments | By Rachael

The internet has brought the world closer. More people are now connected to each other by virtue of social media and this helps in making a plethora of information, both good and bad, available to people of all age groups. People use social media to connect with one another and share information, but not many realize the negative visual impact of the images and messages on the minds of people.

The fact that social media has the power to influence the behavior of people is irrefutable. It has been found that a person’s behavior gets influenced by advertisements on social media. While studying the effects of social media on drinking habits, the Michigan State University observed that there was a greater inclination among the participants to consider drinking when exposed to advertisements marketing beer, compared to those touting bottled water.

Effect of social media on drinking habits

Stressing on the objective of the research, lead author of the study Saleem Alhabash, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations, said, “In this study we wanted to see whether just the mere exposure to alcohol messages on social media makes any difference in terms of people’s expressing intentions to consume alcohol, as well as engage in alcohol-related consumption behaviors.”

For the study, titled “Saw It on Facebook, Drank It at the Bar! Effects of Exposure to Facebook Alcohol Ads on Alcohol-Related Behaviors,” the scientists observed 121 respondents who were allowed to view advertisements on the Facebook. While one group looked at advertisements of some particular brand of beer, the other was allowed to watch visual images of bottled water.

To gauge the effect of the advertisements on the minds of the participants, they were presented with a choice of two gift cards – one for a bar and the other allowing access to a coffee shop. The scientists found that of the total number of respondents who saw the beer advertisement, 73 percent chose the bar card. Of the participants exposed to advertisements on bottled water, only 55 percent made a choice for the bar card. Commenting on the implications of the study, Alhabash said, “What this tells us is there is an effect and it can be attributed to the sheer exposure to these messages. It primes them to think about alcohol.”

The study, published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising in March 2016, pointed at the effect of social media and its role in influencing choices of people concerning their drinking habits. As opposed to advertisements appearing on other forms of electronic media, including television, the manner in which the subject is subtly woven into the fabric of advertisements is rarely noticed.

As no regulations and laws are in place to restrict any kind of advertisements or messages on social media, it is imperative for parents to keep a watch on the kind of programs their wards are exposed to. Looking at the problem of under-age drinking, it is also important to educate them about the ill effects of alcohol.

Comprehensive detoxification helps de-addiction programs

The first step prescribed for alcohol de-addiction is detoxification. Comprehensive detoxification therapies entail medications, coupled with various therapies and alternative methods of treatment. Detoxification involves cleansing the body of all the harmful toxins that may have got accumulated due to constant alcohol abuse. In cases of binge drinking, doctors stress on detoxification before moving on to the next phase of treatment.

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