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Teens That Use Facebook Are 5 Times More Likely to Smoke, 3 Times More Likely to Drink and Twice as Likely to Use Marijuana

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posted 11:20 PM EST, Wed August 24, 2011

70% of teens use social networking sites on a typical day. These teens are far more likely to drink, smoke cigarettes and use marijuana.

Does spending time on facebook make your teen son or daughter more likely to drink, smoke or do drugs?

Researchers at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) can’t say for sure that using social networking sites causes teens to get drunk or use drugs, but after polling a representative sample of American teens and parents, they can say that teens who spend time on facebook or similar sites on a typical day are far more likely to use drugs or alcohol than teens who do not.

The Numbers

70% of teens polled reported spending time on social networking sites on a typical day. Compared to the 30% of teens who did not visit such sites on a typical day, the social media using teens were:

  • 500% more likely to smoke cigarettes, 300% more likely to drink alcohol and 200% more likely to smoke marijuana

What Do Parents Think?

Although the study found that teens that were social networking users were far more likely to be teens using drugs and alcohol, parents don’t see social networking sites as real risk factors.

  • 87% of parents say that using social networking sites won’t lead to drinking and 89% say it won’t lead to drug use.

Commenting on the study findings, CASA Chairman Joseph A. Califano, Jr urged parents to do more to protect their children corrupting influences, arguing, “The anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression and suggestive television programming that teens are exposed to on a daily basis puts them at increased risk of substance abuse. The findings in this year’s survey should strike Facebook fear into the hearts of parents of young children and drive home the need for parents to give their children the will and skill to keep their heads above the water of the corrupting cultural currents their children must navigate.”

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Story Highlights
  • Facebook: Teens who use social networking sites are more likely to use drugs and alcohol
  • Parents Can Help?: CASA Chairman urges parents to do more to protect teens from "The anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression and suggestive television programming"
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