Teens who spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social networking sites are more likely to smoke, drink, or smoke weed, reports the Chicago Tribune. Wait, tagging photos might turn your teen into a druggie. Hurry! Get your kids off of there. Or, wait, hold on a second, this trend story reeks of media-panic. "The Internet puts it in your head," said Dana Cichon, 16, a junior at Bartlett High School. "You think everyone else is having more fun than you." According to science, lots of things correlate with these bad habits. There may be some super-parent out there able to follow all the guidelines, but almost everything correlates with adolescent bad behaviors. Maybe teen drug use has nothing to do with the evil Internet; they probably just like drugs.
Along with Facebook, there's a whole list of things science suggests you do to keep teens away from drugs. Super-freak parents, take note.
Get them away from Facebook. "Teens who spend time on the social networks are likely to see images of their peers drinking or using drugs--images that could help to convince them that substance abuse is a normal, acceptable activity," explains the Tribune.
Keep them happy. Peppy teens reported less involvement in drug use (and, bonus: crime!), according to a University of California Davis study.
Don't live in the country. Kids who live in boring, there's-nothing-to-do-here-but-get-high-and-tip-cows kind of places report higher drug use than teens who grow up in urban areas, reported CBS News. "Eighth-graders in rural America are 104 percent likelier than those in urban centers to use amphetamines, including methamphetamines, and 50 percent likelier to use cocaine, according to the study. Eighth-graders in rural areas also are 83 percent likelier to use crack cocaine, and 34 percent likelier to smoke marijuana than eighth-graders in urban centers."
But also don't live in the suburbs. Another study found that teens who live just outside urban centers are more likely to succumb to illegal evils. "alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use and sex are just as common--if not more common--among suburban high school students as they are among city students," found the Manhattan Policy Institute.
Be a good Dad. There's something special about a child-father bond, we're not sure what, but it has something to do with drugs. A study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens who have a good relationship with their dads do less drugs, reported The New York Times.
Don't let them watch those pretty hilarious anti-drug commercials. Not only do those campaigns not work, but they make teens even more curious about drugs found a University of Pennsylvania study. "Researchers uncovered evidence indicating that the effort could possibly have had the reverse effect: sparking interest in marijuana among kids frequently exposed to the ads by implying that such drug use is common among their peers," reports Health Day.
Make sure they're not Bob Marley fans. Kids who listen to music with references to weed are more like to smoke weed found a study in Addiction. Yes, stoner music is real.
So many things make kids do drugs! And some of these solutions are good ideas (like being a good dad) but over 20 percent of high school seniors reported marijuana use in 2010 according to a National Institute on Drug Abuse study. And of course there are all those lying pot-smokers, too. At this point you might just want to raise them in a bubble. Or, maybe you shouldn't listen to everything you read on the Internet, and have faith in parenting skills.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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