Facebook Makes Kids do Drugs?
A recent study finds that teenagers on Facebook daily are more likely to do drugs, drink, and smoke.
Since the inception of Facebook, we have all discussed the many potential long-term effects it may have on our youth. The focus on this conversation has been the next generation’s potential inability to initiate and maintain ‘real-life’ relationships as they become accustomed to communicating through social media and other online methods. But drugs?
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University recently completed a study in which they came to the conclusion that using Facebook makes teenagers do drugs.
The survey included more than 1,000 young people from the United States and about half of their parents. The study found that 70% of 12-17 year olds spend their time social networking. Social network users were five times more likely to use tobacco (10% vs. 2%), three times more likely to say they used alcohol (26% vs. 9%) and twice as likely to admit use of marijuana (13% vs. 7%).
The study also studies the influence of “suggestive” television programming. Approx. 1/3 of the teens surveys admitted to watching shows such as “Jersey shore”, “16 and Pregnant”, “Skins”, and “Gossip Girl”.
CASA explains that regular viewers of such programs were about twice as likely to use tobacco or alcohol.
"The results are profoundly troubling," the authors wrote in the report, released Aug. 24. "This year's survey reveals how the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression [and] suggestive television programming … put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse."
Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future, points out an error in the study. These numbers only reflect the teenagers that admitted to consuming drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
"There is no question the Web makes information available to youngsters. They know how to get information on drugs. There is also no question that through social media like Facebook they can see what other students are doing," Gilbert said. "If they see that, in fact, others are smoking dope, it makes it seem to be a rite of passage."
The survey found that 90% of parents don’t believe Facebook will influence their teens’ choices.