Students Who Use Social Networks More likely to Try Drugs and Alcohol

red ashtray with cigarette buttsThe National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University uncovered a link between social networks and drug, tobacco and alcohol usage. The center surveyed teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 and found the majority, 70 percent, of those who checked their Facebook or Myspace daily were more likely to try and even abuse these substances.

The study revealed that these adolescents were five times more likely to try tobacco, three times more likely to try alcohol and twice as likely to try marijuana than their non-avid using counterparts.

“We’re not saying (social media) causes it,” Joseph Califano said, the center’s chairman. “But we are saying that this is a characteristic that should signal to (parents) that, well, you ought to be watching.”

This study is part of a new surge of research that discovers how social networking influences teens’ decision making. New research shows that sites like Facebook and Myspace bombard teens with photos, comments and messages with references to such substances. Authors of the study say that this new form of peer pressure causes teens to contend with what they see online.

“The Internet puts it in your head,” Dana Cichon said, a 16-year-old junior at Bartlett High School. “You think everyone else is having more fun than you.”

Some other key findings include:

  • More than half of those surveyed teens have seen photos of their peers either getting drunk or high.
  • Twenty percent of those surveyed said they were cyber-bullied. Additionally, the study revealed that cyber-bullied teens are twice as likely to try tobacco, marijuana and alcohol than those who haven’t been bullied online.
  • Teens who are more involved with their family are less likely to try drugs. Adolescents who eat dinner with their parents five to seven times a week are less likely to try drugs than their counterparts who only have family dinners three times a week or less.

Via US News

Also Read:

Teenage Drug and Alcohol Abuse on the Decline

Signs a Child is Being Bullied

College Students are Addicted to Social Media

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