Alcohol and social media: drinking and drunkenness while online

Helen Moewaka Barnes, Timothy McCreanor, Ian Goodwin, Antonia Lyons, Christine Griffin, Fiona Hutton

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Our New Zealand-based research provides new insights, drawn from focus group and interview data gathered from 18- to 25-year-olds, about how alcohol use and technology converge in drinking and drunkenness while online. Alcohol consumption is a key source of harm and damage to population health, particularly for young people whose engagement with web-based communications may be exacerbating problems. Participants’ talk around alcohol and SNS use is complex, with expressions of caution and regret, juxtaposed with accounts of fun, excitement and pleasure. Sharing, narration and elaboration of experiences of alcohol use online reinforce the social nature of risky drinking practices. The interface of social media and alcohol use is attracting novel forms of alcohol marketing that penetrates virtual and offline spaces, undermining conventional public health policies, approaches and tools for reducing population-level alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • alcohol
  • intoxication
  • social media
  • social networking systems
  • young people


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