Social Networking May Lead Teens to Substance Abuse
A new study of 1,000 teenagers nationwide by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, finds that teenagers who are active on social networking sites are more likely to be addicted to tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana.
CASA notes that 70 percent of teens aged 12 to 17 spend time everyday on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. These teens, according to the study are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to drink alcohol, and twice as likely to smoke marijuana.
According to the study, it is not the time spent on the social networking site that causes substance abuse, but the images viewed on the sites. Forty percent of the teens in the survey said they have seen images of intoxicated kids, including some who were passed out, as well as images of peers using drugs.
According to WebMDn Joseph Califano, Jr., president of CASA said: “Parents need to monitor their kids with respect to social networking and the TV shows they watch, and know what their kids’ lives are like.
The survey also showed a correlation between drug use and the choice of television programming that teens chose. Teens who chose to watch shows like Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant and teen dramas such as Skins or Gossip Girls were also more like to abuse tobacco, alcohol or marijuana.
Parents should take note that the internet can be a dangerous place for their children, but there is good news in the study. The researchers found that a child who gets through age 21 without smoking, using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so. And no one has greater influence over the child’s choice to drink, smoke or use drugs then that teen’s parents.
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