10 Apr 2014

Online Drinking Culture

From Our Changing World, 9:46 pm on 10 April 2014

Antonia Lyons, Anna Tonks and Trish NilandIn the digital age, young adults in New Zealand are using social technologies such as Facebook and mobile phones to organise their drinking activities. To study this drinking culture, and in particular the “culture of intoxication”, a multidisciplinary team led by Massey University’s Antonia Lyons (left) have run focus groups with friends around the country from different socio-economic groups and ethnic backgrounds, as well as speaking with individuals about their Facebook pages, and looking at alcohol marketing, particularly on Facebook but also on mobile phone apps.

The Marsden funded research has found differences between the groups, as well as between genders, including a reinforcement of typical gender roles. Ruth Beran speaks with PhD student Trish Niland (right), who looked at Pakeha participants, and Masters student Anna Tonks (middle) who looked at drinking photos on Facebook. The research indicates that health messages around youth problem drinking will not succeed without fully understanding the role of social media in drinking activities. Click here to read the research report from the study.