Bullying alters brain structure, raises risk of mental health problems

New research is suggesting that there may be physical structural differences in the brains of adolescents who are regularly bullied.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, between one and three students in the United States report being bullied at school.

In recent years, cyberbullying has become a widespread problem.

Cyberbullying is any bullying performed via cell phones, social media, or the Internet in general.

Full story at Medical News Today

Alcohol ads with pro-drinking comments on Facebook boost desire to drink, study finds

Alcohol advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook can increase young adults’ desire to drink if the ads contain pro-drinking comments from users. That’s according to new research in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Social media users who view alcohol ads are also more likely to “Like” or “Share” an ad when it has pro-drinking comments, the new study shows.

“There is more information on social media than just a post or a message. We are exposed to how other users respond to a post, and it is those responses that can influence your desire to drink,” says Dr. Jonathan Noel, the study’s lead author. “Our findings suggest that comments left by other social media users may either reinforce or negate the message from a post.”

With hundreds of corporate-sponsored alcohol ads on social media sites (with millions of Likes and Shares), plus millions of views of alcohol ads on YouTube, alcohol companies have expanded platforms to reach young consumers. The new study suggests that the industry needs to improve the voluntary self-regulatory system that governs its advertising, possibly by limiting or banning comments on social media advertising.

Full story at Science Daily

Is it time you went on a social media detox

In today’s world, social media is central to our lives. It helps us to stay in touch with our friends, promote our work, and follow the latest news. How do these networks impact our mental and physical health? Is it time to take a break from being permanently online?

Nowadays, we have plenty of social networking sites to choose from, and the options seem to be ever expanding.

Many people actually hold multiple accounts, which they may use for different purposes.

Full story at Medical News Today

Addiction May be Linked With High Social Media Use in People With Depression

A new study suggests addiction may be linked with the high use of social media in people with depression. People who check social media most frequently throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who check it least often, the study found.

Compared with peers who spend less time on social media, people who spend the most time on social media throughout the day are 1.7 times more likely to be depressed, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found.

Addiction seemed to explain about three-fourths of the effect of social media use on depression, the researchers report in Depression and Anxiety.

“It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void,” researcher Lui yi Lin said in a news release.

Full story of social media use, depression and addiction at drugfree.org

Experts: Universities Should Use Social Media to Reduce Student Drinking

Universities should use social media to convince students to reduce their drinking, according to a group of alcohol and public health experts. They suggest borrowing tactics from the alcohol industry to target alcohol-related messages toward specific groups.

The experts met at Boston University to discuss how to use social media to reach college students with anti-drinking messages. In a report on the meeting, the experts said educational quizzes could be targeted at students less likely to engage in risky drinking. Messages about therapy and rehab could be sent to students who may have alcohol dependence, Forbes reports. Messages could be tailored to a particular college’s drinking culture, the experts noted.

“I think for any organization trying to curtail alcohol use or binge drinking, it’s almost imperative to have a social media presence because that’s where the kids are,” said Michael Siegal , a professor at Boston University who studies the effects of marketing on youth substance use. “Especially since it looks like the alcohol companies have a presence, it can’t be a one-way street.”

Full story of social media reducing student drinking at drugfree.org