GU Project

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The vast majority of available research on the negative effects of the media tends to focus on the way in which the media has the potential to influence the development of eating disorders, violent behaviours and alcohol use in young people, for example, as opposed to the way in which media influence might manifest in drug use. While similar effects appear to be present, it is impossible to draw any definite conclusions. SOCIAL MEDIA Social media (1) has recently assumed a very powerful position within society. According to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), young people spend more than twenty hours per week on the internet, with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter occupying the bulk of their free time. It is therefore difficult not to question the effect that this has on the individual. The researcher was interested in the way in which social media sites can be used to promote, to glamorize, to normalize and to reflect illegal drug use. This interest was piqued following the observation of a series of drug-related pictures/statuses on Facebook and Twitter etc, prior to the investigation. Also, according to a United Nations report (*), social media is increasingly being used as a tool by drug dealers to sell drugs to young people. Correspondingly, the researcher also witnessed such activities in the lead-up to the investigation. While young people seem to be more open about their illegal drug use online, the researcher also noted the way in which the collective conscious (Emile Durkheim, 1893) of society seemingly holds online in relation to such behaviours: most teenage social media users remain disapproving of illegal drug use, thus reflecting general societal views. The most compe... ... middle of paper ... ...beat somebody up or crash their car because they were under the influence or used drugs, and still make $20 million a year.” According to Levitt, “Research we have done shows that television and music, and movies in particular, really normalize certain kinds of unhealthy behaviour.” However, Levitt points out that parents’ are the most powerful determinant of whether adolescents use drugs, “and the less role parents have the more impact other influences have, like the media." Matthew Atha (2010) highlighted that, in reference to celebrity cocaine use, “When the celebrities are taking it they get snapped by the paps and they get outed by the press, but Joe Bloggs down the council estate never comes to the attention of the media, so it has this image of being a glamorous, celebrity-associated drug,” thus making the use of cocaine seem more attractive to young people.
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