New study shows Facebook could be a tool in detecting alcoholism
Published Tuesday, October 4, 2011 4:50PM CST
A study out of the United States says social media might reveal who, among users' children or young friends are heading down the road of alcoholism.
University students are Facebook's most avid users and tend to hold nothing back, even if it is bad behaviour.
"There's pictures the next day about people passing out next to toilets and things like that," explained Hope Scott, a university student.
The study shows social media sites like Facebook could serve as a screener for teens at risk of developing a drinking problem.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that nearly 60 per cent of those teens posting about their excessive drinking actually did score high on screening tests for signs of a drinking problem.
Still, social media experts say online personalities are not always truthful. "I have to caution that what appears online may not necessarily be what happens in reality," explained Brian Myhre a social media expert from the University of Manitoba.
Myhre says a lot of posts online are really about forging a larger-than-life identity. "The internet, especially Facebook, is just a public billboard in a sense. (It can be used) to advertise yourself, almost as a celebrity in a sense," said Myhre.
Addictions experts say, "Experimentation with alcohol with young people is quite normal," explains Sheri Lysy of Addictions Foundation of Manitoba. "Just a part of the curiosity factor during adolescence, but there is a sub group of young people who may go on to develop a problem."
-With a report from CTV's Deborah Mensah-Bonsu