Teen drinking and drug abuse have been problems for a long time. Although the situation has occasionally escalated or declined, it has generally remained stable over the long run. Unfortunately, social networks such as Facebook could be changing all that.
Narconon Rehab Treatment center has found that according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), teenagers who use social networking sites are twice as likely to use marijuana, three times as likely to drink alcohol and five times as likely to smoke cigarettes as teens who choose to abstain from social media. The study concentrated on a group of 2000 minors aged 12-17, along with 500 parents of teenagers.
The results showed a correlation between teens who viewed pictures of drug or alcohol use online and those who engaged in similar behaviors offline. The photos were typically viewed on Facebook or other social networking sites, although 14 percent of the social media nonusers also reported exposure to images of teens abusing alcohol and drugs.
Of course, correlation does not equal causation, and there is no definitive proof that looking at pictures online actually leads to drug use.
Some researchers have criticized the study for implying that almost half of the teenagers with Facebook, Twitter or other social networking accounts are choosing to participate in drug abuse simply because they’ve seen others doing so on those sites. These critics point to a multitude of other factors that determine whether a teen is likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
Most of the parents surveyed by CASA felt that social media did not play a huge role in their kids’ decisions regarding drugs and alcohol. However, a number of parents are now beginning to grow concerned about the potential impact of Facebook on the lives of teens.
Many of them have their own Facebook pages with the express purpose of monitoring how their children are using the site.
However, it is reasonably easy for teens to view pictures of partying without their parents ever suspecting a thing. So even if parents think that everything is OK, there is likely plenty that they are not seeing.
There are certainly flaws in the CASA study, but it also has its merits. The study raises an alarm bell for parents who have been unaware of the potential negative influence of Facebook and other social media sites.
Narconon drug Preventionists ask parents to understand that there is still a lot of pressure for teens to drink and use drugs, and that this pressure is often present on Facebook.
Although it is impossible for parents to filter out all dangers from a child’s life, simply being aware of the risks can be very effective in preventing drug abuse.
If parents understand the correlation between using Facebook and using drugs, they may be more likely to spot the signs of drug abuse and get their kids into a treatment program like Nacronon Cocaine Treatment.
Parents can also prevent problems by monitoring their children’s computer use and talking to them about how drugs and alcohol are portrayed on Facebook.