Facebook friends can induce risky behavior: Study
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Mum was probably right about this: hanging out with the wrong crowd on social networks like Facebook can encourage teens to engage in risky behaviours like drinking and smoking.
A study released on Tuesday concludes that teenagers who see friends smoking and drinking alcohol in photographs posted on Facebook and Myspace are more likely to smoke and drink themselves.
"Our study shows that adolescents can be influenced by their friends' online pictures to smoke or drink alcohol," said Mr Thomas Valente of the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine and the study's principal investigator.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study to apply social network analysis methods to examine how teenagers' activities on online social networking sites influence their smoking and alcohol use." Mr Valente and his team drew conclusions from a survey of 1,563 students from the El Monte Union High School District in Los Angeles County in October 2010 and April 2011.