Teens who spend time on social networking sites such as Facebook are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs, says a new survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). The report says:
Compared to teens who do not spend time on a social networking site in a typical day, teens who do are:
- Five times likelier to have used tobacco (10 percent vs. 2 percent);
- Three times likelier to have used alcohol (26 percent vs. 9 percent);
- Twice as likely to have used marijuana (13 percent vs. 7 percent).
The CASA study theorizes the increase is due to what kids are finding on social networking sites. “Half of teens who spend any time on social networking sites have seen pictures of kids drunk, passed out or using drugs on the sites,” the report says.
“The results are profoundly troubling,” the study says. “This year’s survey reveals how the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression, suggestive television programming and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, some experts are wary of the correlation between social networking and teen substance abuse. But many agree that parents need to keep a watchful eye on their teen’s Internet habits.