College students who binge drink frequently post on social media in an intoxicated condition and show signs of social media addiction, a new study has warned. The findings suggested that when compared to those students who had never binged, those who did were more likely to have posted on any social media platform while drinking and while intoxicated.
“During these times when young students are feeling disinhibited by alcohol, they may be even more likely than usual to post inappropriate material without considering the future impact,” said lead author Natalie A. Ceballos from the Texas State University in San Marcos.
For the study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the research team recruited 425 undergraduate students aged between 18 and 25.
They asked about students’ alcohol use, including the quantity and frequency with which they drank and if they had ever “binged”.
The researchers also queried about students’ use of social media, including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and whether they posted social media messages while drinking and while intoxicated.
Students then were asked about their social media addiction — that is, if they experienced negative consequences from their social media use. Currently, however, there is no official psychiatric diagnosis of addiction to social media.
Binge drinkers also showed greater “intensity” towards social media (more emotional investment that allowed social media to become part of their identities) and a non-statistically significant trend towards being more addicted to social media.
They also used more social media platforms than non-binge drinkers. However, social media also may prove to be an avenue for prevention efforts among student drinkers, the researcher said.
“While college students’ reliance on social media has been identified as a risk factor for alcohol-related problems, it might also present an opportunity for innovative interventions,” Ceballos noted.