Social Media and Teen Drug Abuse
Teens spend the majority of their day looking at social media and almost always have their cellphones in close proximity. Social Media itself has become an influential tool in the lives of most teens and it has a lot of power. In fact, its also become a place where drug and alcohol abuse are practically being promoted by other youths. You can witness an example of this with the supremely popular product JUUL, an e-cigarette deceives that has swept its way not only through social media but through schools. According to NBC news Juul use has become so rampant that its ‘a nightmare for school administrators’. Juul devices are unlike the sometimes bulky vaping devices you may see some adults with. They don’t ‘throw clouds’ of vapor the way that classic devices do either. Furthermore, if you aren’t familiar with what a Juul looks like you would probably mistake it for a USB drive or a strangely slim marker or writing device. The slimness of this device makes it almost laughable easy to conceal and students have grown accustomed to using it class by reportedly blowing the quick to dissipate smoke into their backpacks or shirts.
With e-cigarette devices rising in popularity in recent years the verdict is still put about on the long term health effects of using them. However, its speculated that the results won’t be good. The Juul device uses ‘pods’ that pack a whopping equivalent of 200 drags on a cigarette and nicotine levels to match. Their sleek design was so popular on places like Instagram that many ‘social media influencers’ could be seen carrying them. You wouldn’t have been hard pressed to find a photo of a bikini-clad influencer in a tropic location with a Juul in one hand and an umbrella-adorned drink in the other. In fact, the social media influence that Juul was presenting had come to a boiling point in November of 2018 when they decided the best way for teens to not be socially connected with their product was by deleting all Juul social media (except Twitter). They also decided to halt the sales of most of their pod flavors strictly in the efforts to stop minors from obtaining their products.
Despite those efforts, the problem still persists in schools today and on social media. All you have to do is searching the hashtag #juul and you’ll find more than 300,000 posts tagged. The correlation between social media and social accepted have begun to blur lines so the leap from social media to drug use isn’t that big of a gap to jump. Social media has changed the way the world socializes, especially young adults and teens. This means that having access to proof of their peers involve din illegal or illicit behaviors is entirely possible and in most certainly happening. With entire hashtags dedicated to an e-cigarette product, you can bet there are similar tags and Instagram personalities dedicated to marijuana use as well as alcohol use and abuse.
You may be wondering how to protect your teen from the content on their social media pages but there isn’t a terrible amount that can be done apart from taking their phone privileges from them. Taking away a phone could be seen as an overreaction so, in lieu of that, a better way to approach your child is through honest and open conversation. Explain to them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Some teens may not even be aware that the popular Juul products contain nicotine or may brush off Juuls as being “safer” than cigarettes. Make them aware that the glamorization of drugs and alcohol on social media doesn’t mean they have to use or abuse drugs to ‘fit in’ with the new normalized ideals of drug use. Some teens and young adults become so wrapped up in what they see on social media that they don’t realize that most of it half-truths.
There are plenty of Instagram ‘famous’ individuals that work night and day to make the appearance of their social media accounts perfect. They focus on turning their every meal, sneeze, and clothing choice into their personal ‘brand”. This can easily fit in things like illicit drug use with ease and normalcy that might tip the scales and make you teen believe they need to do those things to be normal or accepted. Social media might not be something that you, as a parent, have submersed yourself in. You may not have accounts in every platform out there yet it’s always best to be informed about what your teen might be exposed to including the link between illegal drugs and social media.
If you believe that your teen is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse or use you can contract Insight Treatment at 888-295-9995 to learn more about our therapy, teen drug and alcohol rehab and group programs.