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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

YouTube Vidoes Portray Excessive Alcohol Consumption

In the digital age, the majority of teens spend much of their time on the computer, rather than watching television. Teenagers are constantly bombarded by advertisements for an assortment of goods, including alcohol and tobacco. What’s more, anybody can upload videos to the internet using streaming services, such as YouTube. In the past, research regarding the effects of alcohol related media exposure has shown that teen drinking behavior was influenced by what they were exposed to in the media.

New research shows that YouTube videos that depict drunkenness often portray excessive alcohol consumption in a positive light, TIME reports. The videos with the most “likes” were funny.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that the 70 most popular videos that showed drunkenness, accounted for more than 330 million views. Hardly any portrayals of the negative side of drinking could be found, according to the article.

The researchers searched keywords, such as:
  • Drunk
  • Buzzed
  • Hammered
  • Tipsy
  • Trashed
The researchers picked the most popular videos in those categories on YouTube. They found that most common beverage mentioned was hard alcohol, included men, and that almost half of the videos referred to a specific brand.

“There has been little research examining Internet-based, alcohol-related messaging,” lead author Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD, said in a news release. “While we know that some viewers may be savvy enough to skeptically view music videos or advertisements portraying intoxication as fun, those same viewers may be less cynical when viewing user-generated YouTube videos portraying humorous and socially rewarding escapades of a group of intoxicated peers.”

While the study was not able to make any connections between watching the videos and drinking more or drinking more dangerously, the findings show the alcohol-related content is available online, the article reports. Further research is required to understand the effects this kind of media could carry.

The report was published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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