Teens who use social networking sites daily are up to five times more likely to smoke tobacco or marijuana or drink alcohol, according to a new study released Wednesday by the National centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.The survey of 12-to-17-year-olds found that teens who visit Facebook or Myspace daily (70 per cent of those surveyed) are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times likelier to use alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana compared to those who don’t visit the sites on a typical day.
[Learn how to keep your teen safe on Facebook.]
Joseph Califano, chairman of the organisation that conducted the study, told The Chicago Tribune that the public nature of social media may make teens think drug use is more common than it is. More than half of students surveyed said they had seen photos on social networking sites of their friends drinking alcohol or doing drugs. “I think there’s no question there’s a relation there,” Califano told the Tribune.
Here are some other notable findings from the survey:
• One in five teens reported being cyber bullied. Cyber bullied teens were more than twice as likely to use alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco than teens who weren’t bullied online.
• Teens who have dinner with their family five to seven times a week are much less likely to use drugs than teens who have dinner with their families three times a week or fewer.
• 60 eight per cent of teens who have tried tobacco have also tried marijuana.