The world is getting smaller and less personal due to the World Wide Web; it seems everyone from children to older adults is somehow connected to the Internet and use it on a daily basis. Teenagers are probably online sharing their lives with their peers the most; and it may be that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are a bad influence on teenagers when it comes to drinking and drug use according to a new survey conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York. Just about every time a party takes place there is always a group of people that posts pictures of people intoxicated, holding drinks, and passed out. Teenagers who see such photos are more inclined to want to drink or get high.
An estimated 70 percent of teens spend time on social networking sites in a typical day, the survey found. Compared with teens who do not use social networking sites, according to the survey those who visit them on a regular basis are:
- five times as likely to use tobacco
- three times as likely to drink alcohol
- twice as likely to use marijuana
The problem is not just with teenagers; the survey found that about half of adolescents on social networking sites have seen photos of teens who are using alcohol or drugs, or who have passed out. Clearly, this fact should concern parents who allow their children to participate on social networking sites. Why there may be other factors that can contribute to underage drinking and drug use, peer influence is huge and should be monitored. A number of parents have befriended their children on such sites in order to keep an eye on what their children and their children's friends are up to.