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Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure to Look Cool

For many young adults, peer pressure is a very real thing that makes them want to engage in certain activities to look cool. Peer pressure can come from people you hang out with, but can also come from media. Substance use is portrayed in movies, television shows, and commercials as something cool to engage in. What they don’t show, however, is that substance use can wreak havoc on the lives of children and young adults, both directly and indirectly. Children and young adults are very impressionable. As a culture, we must work to break down the notion that drinking or doing drugs is a cool thing to do. 

Recently, authors Kristina M. Jackson, Tim Janssen, and Joy Gabrielli studied the early stages of substance use and environmental risk factors. They found that it’s not only visual media that pushes substances on young people. Now that social media is becoming increasingly popular, it has boosted the rate of substance use among children and young adults. 

What did the study find?

  • A strong link between media exposure and youth tobacco use

Studies show that the odds of a young person becoming a tobacco user is doubled if they are exposed he marketing in the media done by tobacco companies. Likewise, studies show that when the media portrays drinking among children, young people are more likely to emulate this behavior. 

  • The new, big thing: social media

Not only are people on social media exposed to what they want to see, but they are also exposed to what their friends and peers want to see. This is why some children and young adults become exposed to substance use, even though they were not initially interested in it. 

  • How advertising is successful with youth
  1. “Media portrayals of one’s identified peer group using substances in appealing settings then influences the initiation of substance use by associating substance use with that identified peer group” (Recovery Research Institute).
  2. “Exposure and learning are biased towards the beneficial effects of substance use since there is not an equivalent amount of media portraying the downsides of substance use/misuse” (Recovery Research Institute).
  3. “Advertising exerts measurable effects on both explicit and implicit attitudes towards substance use. By forming positive associations between substance use and desirable social situations, the automatic (implicit) response to substance use is more likely to be positive, regardless of what the more measured (explicit) attitudes towards substance use are” (Recovery Research Institute).
  • Impulsivity and media portrayals

Young people tend to be impulsive, and this makes them more impressionable than older people. Advertisers know this and use this to their advantage. 

If you are a struggling young adult that is engaged in substance use, Villa Tranquil Recovery can help. Call us today at 214-799-3080 for more information about the programs we offer. We want to help you today. Call now.