Facebook Increases Teen Drug Use?

We were doubtful, too. I mean seriously? Everyone is on Facebook – even our grandmothers. And how exactly can you pin down teen drug use to Facebook and social media sites? Teens have been using these substances for years before Mark Zuckerberg was even born. However, a CBS News story makes some pretty convincing arguments about why teens on Facebook and social media are more likely to use drugs.

teens-on-facebook-more-likely-to-use-drugs

Are your teens on Facebook? Did you know they're more likely to use drugs?

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Peer pressure is nothing new. For years, teachers, counselors and parents have tried to give teens the tools that empower them to say “no” when pressured to try illegal substances or behave in a way that goes against the rules. Some teens feel the direct pressure from an older student, bully or even more popular student trying to persuade them into inappropriate behavior. However, other students aren’t actually “pressured” at all in the traditional sense. Instead, they feel the pull that in order to fit into their teenage culture, they too must imitate the behaviors they watch or observe other students performing. And it’s this realm that gives reason to why teens on Facebook are becoming more likely to use drugs and alcohol.

The CBS News Article states,

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in New York found that teens who spend time on Facebook, Myspace and other social networks are more prone to start drinking and doing drugs themselves after seeing images of their peers doing just that. Apparently, the images alone are enough to convince some youth that substance abuse is a normal thing, that everyone’s doing it. It’s a new form of peer pressure.

Are all Teens on Facebook?

According to a Pew Research study in 2010, nearly 73% of online teens used Facebook. And our guess is that within the past two years, that number has only increased. While all teens may not use the internet – if your teen does go online, it’s highly likely that they also use Facebook.

Not only do teens have a Facebook, but chances are, they are also addicted to it (like most other social media users.) This blog post says that social media addiction is “becoming greater than alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and even sex,” in some cases. Groups for Social Media Addicts Anonymous (SMAA) have sprung up all over the country because of how addicting social networking has become.

What to Do About your Teen’s Facebook Use

In this day and age, there’s a new host of challenges that unfold as each new app and piece of smart technology hits the market, and soon our teenager’s hands. While advancements in technology may continue to lure teens into trying drugs or alcohol, the “tried and true” parenting methods will still work. Make sure to talk with your teen about peer pressure and drugs and alcohol. Ask about what their friends are using, and what they see on Facebook. Keep the communication open. And make sure your teen understands the seriousness of your house rules. Having them drug tested will really make the point.

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