Social Media has introduced us to a new life, and within that life is the misinformation, acceptance and glamorization of substance abuse and alcohol.
Technology has completely changed the way we socialize, especially the younger generations. The statistics connecting social media and substance abuse is astounding. According to the 2011 National Teen Survey, “American teens ages 12-17 who spend any time on social networking sites are at an increased risk of smoking, drinking and drug use” (Teens Regularly Using Social Networking Sites Likelier to Smoke, Drink, Use Drugs. (2011, August 11). This is heavily due to content being shared with millions of people on social medium platforms.
In terms of social media, what can parents proactively do to shield their children from substance abuse? Many suggest limiting the time one spends on social media, or waiting until a certain age before they can engage online. As parents we don’t have the right answer for this. Perhaps one option is to become familiar to the information on social media and substance abuse yourself. The information is out there and your kids will find it somehow and someway. If it’s not through social media, it may be from someone at school. It may be advantageous for parents to know what social media platforms their kids are using and to be active with their “online world”. Know who they are interacting with and check the content being shared. Most importantly, have the conversation with them about what they may see on social media and the truths about substance abuse.
Technology will continue to advance, and the younger generations will always be privy to the information (and misinformation) on social media. Be open, be honest and be real with about how social media glorifies substance abuse.
(Teens Regularly Using Social Networking Sites Likelier to Smoke, Drink, Use Drugs. (2011, August 11). Retrieved November 4, 2015.