Links Between Social Media Abuse and Substance Abuse.
Substance abuse in some form has touched nearly every family in the world. Whether a loved one is addicted or a friend’s loved one has a problem, addiction has touched most lives. There is no single cause for addiction, though there are warning signs. Those warning signs may not be exactly what many think. One of the newer concerns comes from social media abuse.
Social Media Abuse
Social media has offered the ability for people to easily connect to others whether in the same room or across the world. The downside is that you can be who you want on social media. This means that the person posting pictures may or may not be being honest. Additionally, people can be bold and say whatever is on their mind to or about someone. Social Media can give you the feeling that there is no consequences. Since the words are on a screen, they do not give a visual reaction of how they make the person on the receiving end feels. This all leads directly to social media abuse.
Another problem is that undesirable behaviors can be made to seem commonplace and safe on social media. When a teenager is inundated with images of people having fun drinking or using drugs, it can make the behaviors seem safer or more desirable. This makes monitoring teen behavior online that much more important.
Social Media Use
As of 2015, most teens were online ‘almost constantly’ and at least ¾ used more than one social networking site. Social media use has already been associated with mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, and even sleep problems. This is because social media tends to show only a snapshot. Although teens use that snapshot as a form of comparison.
Due to a lack of laws, teens are allowed to share nearly anything they desire on social media. This leaves them and the recipients vulnerable and exposed. This is not only true for information sharing, but glamorizing drug and alcohol use. This glamorization by celebrities is unchecked on social media. There have been some reports of hashtags being used to connect underage users. They have been linked with people who will provide cigarettes and alcohol. Even illegal drugs have been found.
Previous studies have found that teens who use social media are more likely to see photos of others passed out or under the influence of substances. This in turn makes them more likely to try age inappropriate or illegal substances when compared to peers who do not use social media.
What Does this Mean
If you are a parent of a teen then this data may be troublesome. However, it can be impossible to keep teenagers off of social media when it has become such a part of everyday life. So how do you deal with the inundation of social media into their lives? The answers are pretty simple. Talk to your teenagers about social media, about drugs and alcohol, and monitor accounts.
If your teenager is online, you should know what they are doing. If your teen is not posting or surfing inappropriate sites, then this should not be problematic. Be open and honest with your teen about the safety issues surrounding online behavior and the use of drugs and alcohol.
If you find your teen has already formed a drug or alcohol addiction or is taking part in risky behaviors, seek help. One on one counseling for mild cases or inpatient treatment at centers such as DARA can help get your teen back on track and living an addiction free life.
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