The Horizons Tracker site recently released an article stating that a team from the University of Rochester have looked through Instagram images for insights on teenage drinking habits.
Researchers found a significant amount of underage alcohol related activity on Instagram. Even though Instagram does not have a way to show age on profiles, researchers have found other ways, for example using hashtags to figure it out.
“Yes I have. Almost every weekend,” CJ Connolly, a 19 year old Sacramento resident responded when asking if she’s seen such activity on Instagram. “Sometimes people attempt to cover the alcohol with a photo-shopped emoji or other beverage.”
Researchers found that teens use hashtags that could be related to alcohol, such as slang terms and brand names.
“Beer, vodka, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade,” McKenna Payne, a college student replied when she was asked what type of alcoholic beverages she had seen to be the most popular among young people. “These are often the cheapest and portrayed as typical college beverages.”
Other than being cheap, most “fruity” and lite drinks could be targeted to children through their advertisements and bottle shapes which sometimes look like soda cans.
This new study could be a way to provide statistics and help plan interventions for young people since almost all have Instagram or any other social media app. This study could also be used to learn more about other youth related problems, including smoking, depression and teenage pregnancy.