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Younger Czechs drink less alcohol and are addicted to social media according to study

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Young Czechs consume less alcohol than previous generations and the main source of their entertainment and new addictions are social media, Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today, referring to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Alcohol is no longer attractive to Czech youths.

The WHO survey, conducted in cooperation with Palacky University in Olomouc, central Moravia, shows that the number of alcohol consumers in the age group from 18 to 26 dropped by 7 percent in four years. There is also a high share of teetotallers among young people in the country as 8 percent of them do not drink alcohol at all, compared to 2.6 percent on average in the whole population.

On the contrary, Czechs aged 27-35 years drink a lot, which the recent coronavirus lockdown has proven. They said their alcohol consumption increased immensely then, while younger people said they had consumed more food during the anti-epidemic restrictions.

An older survey confirms this trend. While in 2002, 30 percent of 15-year-old girls and 40 percent of boys of the same age drank alcohol at least once a week, 12 years later, these figures shrank to half, which is 15 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys.

“Trends are favorable. Alcohol consumption in this age group is decreasing… This is also a European trend. But we still have an immense problem with drinking-bouts among the young, national anti-drug coordinator Jarmila Vedralova said.

“There are more attractive forms of spending free time with social media,” survey co-author Michal Kalman, from Palacky University, said about young Czechs’ lifestyle.

According to the latest EU Kids Online survey, Czech adolescents spend three hours a day on average on the Internet, which is twice more time than ten years ago. At the weekend, 22 percent of them are online even more than seven hours a day.

Social networks are one of the factors influencing lower alcohol consumption among young people, as their “health literacy” has thereby increased, Vedralova said.

However, new problems with young people’s addictions to modern technologies have emerged, on which the current anti-drug strategy focuses, she admitted.

Moreover, smartphones and social media compensate for other significant activities among youths, for instance, sex, MfD writes. It cites a new CNN study showing that young people in the USA have sex less and less often. This trend is apparent in Czechia as well.

“The number of partner sexual intercourses has been decreasing in the Czech Republic as well. More and more men prefer masturbation while watching porn to partner sex. At the same time, pornography offers an unrealistic and distorted picture of sex to the youth,” sexologist Petr Weiss told MfD.

A study published in the prestigious British journal The Lancet concludes that adulthood has actually shifted towards 25 years.

“Demands for education are rising, it is more difficult to become anchored in occupation. Young people are longer dependent on parents… The traditional milestones of adulthood have moved from the beginning of the third decade of life to its end,” psychologist Lucie Kvaskova told MfD.

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