Social media has a huge effect on adolescents. This is because social media has the ability to change how young people perceive drugs and interact with substances. Read more to learn about the relationship between social media and its effects on adolescents, and how parents can curb increased drug use through social media.
Ways Around Visibility On Social Media
When most people think about teens using social networking sites, many think about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Nowadays, many adults are on multiple social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most sites are for the most part used as intended. This is because parents and other family members can view status updates, photos, etc. However, there are ways around this visibility. On sites such as Snapchat and Tik Tok, teens can be more ambiguous with their profiles. They have access to a large amount of content. This content sometimes includes alcohol and drug use due to what is posted by friends, celebrities, and strangers from around the world.
Additionally, there are features on each site now that include the option to block certain viewers from seeing a post or a story. Therefore, it is still possible that teens are hiding their drug and alcohol use from adults on social media.
How Social Media Increases Drug And Alcohol Use
Social media increases the use of alcohol and drug use because everyone is looking at what others are doing on a daily basis. If there is a party, teens are viewing that party that their peers are attending on Snapchat and Instagram stories. They post photos of themselves using and they talk about parties that are going on locally. This can cause them to feel like they are missing out. It also might contribute to them going out or partying more than they should. In addition, people have access to celebrities and can easily see the lavish lives that celebrities live. This can often include alcohol and drugs. This can have a negative influence on teens who may feel pressure to live up to this lifestyle.
Social Media Increases Accessibility To Drugs
Additionally, the internet and social media increase access to these drugs. Through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., you can always find someone who is willing to sell or trade for drugs and tattoos. When teens find someone who is looking to buy, sell, or trade drugs, it is easy to exchange information privately through a direct message. It is extremely easy for adolescents to get whatever they are looking for on a social networking site.
A kid can move into a new area with his family, and within hours he can be online (from a cell phone or iPad) in a chat room planning to buy drugs. It is like an open marketplace. Facebook seems to be used as a front to keep parents and friends of the family seeing one thing. However, teens have other websites that they use to hide what they do not want the adults to know.
How Parents Can Monitor Internet Use
Additionally, there are other sites that parents are not seeing where kids are trading drugs. Sometimes we do not really know a lot about some of these other sites, which are far more harmful to adolescents than Facebook or Twitter. For better or worse, we live in a world of amazing technology. For adolescents who are typically savvier than most of us, social media and the Internet can be curses if they are not used properly. Parents must do a better job of monitoring their teens’ usage at home and on smartphones.
The fear of accountability is still the best way to help influence kids to make positive choices. The earlier in life that parents start this structure and accountability, the better. The later in the game a parent tries to hold their adolescent accountable and get him or her help for substance use, the worse the volatility and push back can sometimes be. The bottom line is that parents need to be alert about what their children are seeing and doing on computers, smartphones, tablets, and technology in general. If you need help with a teen who is using drugs, contact The Right Step at 713.528.3709 today.