Young people try drugs and alcohol is not a new problem; However, social media and their popularity are putting your child at an increased risk of teens drug and alcohol abuse.
Be aware that your child is very susceptible to what they see on social media, as at this age your baby is affected easily and is highly susceptible to peer pressure. The article below will help you understand more about the connection between social media and teen drug use so that you can grasp an overview of how things go and take better measures to protect your child.
How does social media encourage your teen’s drug and alcohol abuse?
A study conducted by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teenagers who regularly used popular social media were more likely to drink alcohol, use drugs, and buy tobacco than teenagers who do not use social media or use less.
The study surveyed 2,000 teenagers about their drug and social media habits and 70% said they use social media on any given day. The researchers found that, compared with people who don’t use or don’t regularly use social media, this group has:
- The ability to buy cigarettes is 5 times higher
- Drink alcohol 3 times more
- The likelihood of using cannabis is 2 times higher
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The effects of social media on your teenagers substance abuse
Celebrities and famous, influential people
Websites like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat provide an environment where children are exposed to celebrities and influencers engaged in alcohol and drug use-related behaviors.
Celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Cardi B repeatedly posted pictures and videos showing themselves drinking and enjoying it.
Celebrities promoting drug and alcohol use on social networking sites, making smoking and drinking seem like cool, interesting activities, are getting a lot of attention. With social media algorithms, content that gets a lot of attention will be more likely to show up on the top, and your child has more access to it.
Not only does your child interact with celebrities and influencers, but also with their friends. As your child is constantly exposed to this type of content, they become normalized in your child’s eyes and a must-have in life experiences. As a result, illegal drug use, ecstasy, heroin, etc., as well as drinking alcohol, mislead young people into believing it is appropriate.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse surveyed in 2016 and found that 1.9 million teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 have used illegal drugs.
Most of these teenagers reported being “invited” to try it out by their peers. When they see all their friends trying and enjoying drugs, on their minds, drug use is part of a normal and rewarding teen experience.
Also, they want to be accepted and integrated. When their best friend offers them alcohol or drugs, a high percentage that them will agree. Besides, because of curiosity, they look to drugs or alcohol just to know how drunk or high is.
Social media and Teen drug use – FOMO effects
Fear Of Missing Out (Fear Of Missing Out) is the fear of missing out on the fascinating, interesting things in life that others are experiencing. Your child will feel anxious that everyone around him may be having a happier, more amusing, and more enjoyable experience than he or she, so he or she wants to stay updated on activities of friends or others to see what are they doing.
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Social media makes your child less sensitive to alcohol and drug use at a younger age when 90% of children surveyed have viewed these types of photos of their friends on social media before they are 16 years old.
Nearly half of teenagers after viewing such photos assumed that their friends were “having a good time”, so it is not surprising that teenagers who saw these types of photos have. 4 times more likely to have used marijuana and three times more likely to drink alcohol than children who did not see this type of photo.
As mentioned, celebrities and influencers have shown that drinking alcohol and using drugs is fun and enjoyable, which can put pressure on your child to try these behaviors. “Like people.”
What can parents do to prevent adolescent substance use?
Substance use in adolescents can have long-term consequences. Your child rarely thinks they will have substance-related problems, so it’s important to start talking about these topics with your child earlier and continue with discussions and reminders of how negative effects of drugs on them.
Have intimate conversations with your child about drugs and substances, explain to your child how they will badly affect them. Why should the conversation be intimate? This knowledge is completely accessible at school in theoretical form, but they are often inherently not easy to be remembered, so, as a friend, show your friendliness.
There is no 100% guarantee that your child will never use drugs. However, there are many ways you can minimize your child’s access to drugs:
- Develop a strong and trusting relationship with your child from an early age, encouraging positive behaviors in life such as healthy eating, exercising, playing sports, joining soft skill clubs.
- Be a role model for your children, such as not smoking and not using illegal drugs.
- Encourage your child to have more than one group of friends and you have to know who they are and what they are like.
- Practice your child in taking responsibility and developing good decision-making skills at a young age.
- Self-update information on addictive substances and stimulants to educate and openly discuss with their teens the harms of drug use. Do not overdo or fabricate drug information.
- Download a content filtering tool to notify you if your child is looking for information about drugs, ecstasy, magic mushrooms, etc. for on-time conversation.
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