The majority of British teenagers say alcohol does not play an important role in their social lives according to a new report. The research shows that two thirds of British teens have little interest in alcohol and nearly one fifth of those do not drink at all.
The reason for this shift in attitudes seems to be, at least in part, due to social media. Nearly 50% of students said they avoided drinking because they feared drunken pictures would end up on social media.
The report, which was commissioned by the Demons think tank found that social media did more than just discourage students who worried about alcohol soaked snapshots.
Ian Wybron, co-author of the report said, "The survey results certainly indicate that the growing importance of social media in modern life in playing a role in young people's decisions around alcohol - both explicitly and implicitly. Overall, 42% of the young people we surveyed felt that the internet and platforms such as Facebook have given young people more things to fill their time. What's more, 29% of young people cited concerns about their online reputations as contributing to the decline in youth alcohol consumption.”
Young people are now keenly aware that a single drunk picture can be shared through extended friend groups, between social media sites and within hours be plastered all over the internet. In some cases, pictures can even rank high in google image search results or become internet memes. This can affect job prospects and future relationships.
Other factors that have lowered teens drinking include the rising cost of alcohol and the health concerns around drinking.
While teen drinking has gone down overall, there are still serious problems with alcohol abuse among young people. Some universities are even considering implementing breathalysers at their SU bars to help reduce alcohol fuelled problems.