Study reveals binge drinkers ‘consequences’ of social media addiction.

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Your online behavior is a reflection of your offline character.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, today your first impression is what a Google search says about you.

Critical thinking goes out the door when your drinking, no matter what age you are. In today’s digital world it’s especially unforgiving. One lapse of judgment on social media and you could end up on an unemployment line, lose a college acceptance (or worse – a scholarship) and this oops moment can linger for a longtime.

New research in the latest edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, surveyed 425 undergraduate students ages 18-25 about their alcohol use in combination with using their social media platforms.

Interestingly, college students who are binge drinkers were most at risk for drunk posting on social media without considering the consequences.

“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 researcher Natalie A. Ceballos, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychology at Texas State University in San Marcos. “In some cases, these sorts of mistakes have even influenced college admission and later job applications.”

Natalie A. Ceballos, Ph.D.

The other concern is friends who view their buddies’ posts of heavy drinking may then be more likely to perceive intoxication as exciting and fun, Ceballos’s group notes.

It’s important to help our young people understand that being part of unflattering online behavior, by ‘liking it‘, commenting on it, or any other form of endorsing it – is equal to them approving it. It can also be a reflection of their character. Be mindful of the guilt-by-association trap. This was their lapse of judgement – not yours.

The hot spots

According to this recent study, college students most popular social hangouts are Snapchat and Instagram followed by Facebook and Twitter.

“Facebook is waning in popularity among younger users,” the researchers write, “whereas Snapchat is becoming more popular.”


Just before Twitter expanded their characters to 280, a football training coach reminded his students that their online behavior can cost them their offline scholarships.

It’s not only colleges, in 2018 a CareerBuilders survey revealed that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. More than half, (57 percent) have found content that caused them not to hire a candidate.

Social media mentoring

Maybe your teen is in need of a coach or mentoring? Not a sports coach, but someone to give them wisdom about how to use social wisely – to their benefit. Let’s face it – many parents are just as new to the cyber-place as their children.

There’s a coach for that.

Teens and young adults should use their social media accounts as an asset, creating LinkedIn profiles or Twitter feeds that will impress college admissions officers or future employers, says Alan Katzman, founder of Social Assurity, which has coached nearly a thousand high school and college students on this technique.

“You have to learn to post content that won’t generate likes or follows from your group of friends, but toward your future audience, who will [use it to] try to determine who you are,” he says, in reference to his clients’ potential employers and college recruiters.

Alan Katzman

For many young people, the problem is not necessarily wiping clean a social media profile littered with red Solo cups and bikini selfies, it’s simply a lack of anything impressive—like community service or academic accomplishments. “It’s void,” Katzman says when we interviewed him for Shame Nation book.

Peer-to-peer support

Especially if you know your friend has a tendency to drunk post, be there for them. Be an upstander offline – help guide them to understand that what they post in the moment will have lasting and serious ramifications for their future.

  1. Attempt to talk them off their device. We know when people are under the influence they can be unreasonable, however as a friend, we have to try.
  2. Try to contain the damage. If possible, see if they will at least tighten their privacy settings. We know we can’t always rely on them – but we must try. Maybe you can do this for them (?).
  3. When they put their phone down, if they are really out of control, will it hurt if you take the phone for the remainder of the event? When they miss it, you can pretend to be looking for it. Of course turn the volume off – since they will try to call it.

Reality is – drunk posting can and will impact your future. Whether it’s college admissions, potential internships or employment – or if you are already in school or started your career – the majority of workplaces and college campuses have social media policies in place.

We’re all a click away from life changing experiences – and they aren’t always positive.