Hey Teens, Have Lots Of Sex But Stay Off Facebook!
In the latest hand-ringing news about teenagers and the ills of Facebook, a study has determined that kids who spend time on social media sites are more likely to use illegal substances, drink, and smoke cigarettes. The logic is that while perusing photos of their friends and classmates, kids as young as 13 are coming across images of their peers holding up liquor bottles and cigarettes looking cool above comments of praise. Meanwhile, another recent study recent revealed that teenagers who are having sex in committed relationships are less likely to engage in “delinquent” behavior than their “hooking up” counterparts.
On a typical day, 70 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 — 17 million teenagers — spend from a minute to hours on Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites, according to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
But for this same age bracket, social-network-savvy teens are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana than teens who do not spend any of their day on social networking sites.
I would argue that teenagers see drinking, smoking, and drug use among their peers anyway, regardless of how busy they are with their Facebook accounts. Whether you’re at a birthday party and the neighbor boy shows you the key to his parents’ liquor cabinet or you’re walking by the gym after school and spot some kids lighting up — you see it. Facebook doesn’t present kids with images they haven’t already seen. Drugs and drinking exist at every school, no matter the pedigree which is all the more reason to ensure that your kids make good choices when confronted with those scenarios.
As far as the sex study is concerned, researchers deduced that kids who were having sex in relationships “spend more one-on-one time with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and less time with their friends, have fewer opportunities to get into trouble.” Or perhaps that’s less time fiddling around on Facebook, looking at countless images of all that drug use.