Weill Cornell Logo Teens exposed to online material seem to be increasing involved in multiple-risky behaviors. On that note, investigators from the Weill Cornell Medical College found that youngsters who drink alcohol spend more time on their computers for recreational use, such as social networking and downloading or listening to music. The study findings apparently call for the need to monitor children’s computer usage as well as alcohol intake.

During the study, experts evaluated the results of an anonymous survey filled in by a total of 264 teenagers. The Weill Cornell survey was completed by participants aged 13 to 17 and residing in the United States. Adolescents who drank in the last month probably used a computer more hours per week excluding school work than those who did not. Yet scientists were unable to register a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and computer use for school work.

“While the specific factors linking teenage drinking and computer use are not yet established, it seems likely that adolescents are experimenting with drinking and activities on the Internet. In turn, exposure to online material such as alcohol advertising or alcohol-using peers on social networking sites could reinforce teens’ drinking,” shared Dr. Epstein, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Children are being exposed to computers and the Internet at younger ages. For this reason it’s important that parents are actively involved in monitoring their children’s computer usage, as well as alcohol use. According to a national study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than half of parents of teenagers had filters installed on the computers their child uses to block content parents find objectionable, yet many parents do not use any form of parental monitoring, particularly for older teens.”

Drinking also appeared linked with more frequent social networking and listening to and downloading music. However, no strong relation between video games and drinking or online shopping and drinking was reported. Authors will be conducting further investigations to gather more detailed and longer-term data on adolescent alcohol and computer use. Also the degree and duration of their drinking habit will be examined.

The study is published in the May print edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors.