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Social Media Teens and Substance Abuse

There is nothing new about teenagers experimenting with drugs or alcohol. But the emergence of social media has fueled teen interest in various substances. Teenagers spend an excessive amount of time on social media. Thus, they are exposed to far more drugs than ever before. Also, they make the connection between the drugs and certain mainstream or sub-cultures online and in real life. There is a strong correlation between social media, teens, and substance abuse. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship to gain a better understanding of how social media influences teen drug use.

Celebrity Endorsements

Some celebrities endorse various substances through ads or YouTube videos. Others endorse drug or alcohol use simply by using the substance in front of the camera. Musicians, actors, and other influential cultural figures constantly post photos or videos of themselves drinking or getting high on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As a result, teenagers may view their idols participating in substance use and feel that it is okay to do the same thing. Platforms such as YouTube bring these activities to life and increase the temptation. The connection between social media, teens, and substance abuse becomes more common when celebrities endorse these drugs.

Social Media Teens and Substance Abuse Statistics

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA) at Columbia University revealed that teenagers who logon to their social media accounts multiple times per day are more likely to drink, smoke cigarettes, or use illicit drugs. According to the NCASA, 70 percent of teenagers in the U.S. use social media at least once per day. The study also found that teenagers who look at social media daily were more likely to engage in the following activities, including:

  • Two times more likely to purchase marijuana
  • Three times more likely to consume alcohol
  • Five times more likely to start smoking cigarettes

In addition, over 90 percent of teenagers reported checking into Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram at least three times per day. Other popular sites include YouTube, Tik Tok, and Tumblr.

The Influence of #FOMO and Social Media Ads

One of the greatest forms of peer pressure is the fear of being left out of the group. Regardless of the connection between social media, teens, and substance abuse, teenagers will use drugs or drink alcohol if they see their friends doing it online. A recent Pew Research study found that 75 percent of teenagers who see their friends using substances online are more likely to experiment with the same substances. All of this is due to social media ads, clever social media platforms, and the #FOMO (fear of missing out) cultural movement. In addition, the ads encourage underage drinking and using drugs at a far lower age. More and more teenagers are being influenced during their early adolescence. Consequently, by the time they reach adulthood, they are already addicted to a substance.

Social Media and Poor Mental Health

Social media can trigger a wide range of mental health problems such as anorexia anxiety, depression, separation anxiety, or social disorders. All of these problems occur as a result of how teenagers compare themselves versus what they see online. Social media-related mental health problems can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. Teens will often turn to a substance to self-medicate when they experience a symptom of a mental disorder.

Learn More About Social Media Teens and Substance Abuse

If you would like to learn more about social media, teens, and substance abuse, then contact The Ranch PA today. We offer comprehensive treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. We also provide services for social media addiction. To find out more about your teenager’s treatment options, call 717.969.9126. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.

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