The Effect of Social Media Ads on Teen Behavior

Every month, we keep you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at a Pediatrics study about the influence of online tobacco ads.

Last month, Reuters shared the conclusions of a Pediatrics study, “Online Tobacco Marketing and Subsequent Tobacco Use.” The study analyzed data from nearly 12,000 adolescents and their engagement with online tobacco ads. The group was surveyed twice, about one year apart. At the follow-up, those who engaged with ads reported higher rates of initiation of smoking, increased frequency of use, progression into using multiple products, and lower rates of cessation.

Social media is a dominant presence in the lives of today’s teens, and the information available on these channels can affect what young adults are interested in and what they do. This study, along with preexisting knowledge of social media’s influence, shows that engagement is associated with a higher likelihood of starting to smoke. The ability to post, share, re-tweet, etc. allows for the interests of teens and their peers to act like advertisements in their own newsfeeds. This coupled with peer pressure and the desire to not miss out on what other teens are doing leads to teens potentially participate in risky activities, not thinking about the consequences and focusing primarily on not being left out.

For this reason, it is important for parents to maintain awareness of topics discussed on social platforms and the effect these conversations can have on their teens. One way to stay up-to-date on trending behaviors among teens is to follow our blog, which features pieces from healthcare professionals, parents, and community members offering advice for raising teens and keeping them safe in today’s world.

Along with following our blog, you can keep up with the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on studies, parenting tips and more information on keeping teens from engaging in risky behaviors.

Want to learn more about the study mentioned above? You can read the full article from Reuters.com here and the full Pediatrics study here.

Have any thoughts of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments below.