Yesterday I told you about a new survey from Columbia University that found that 17 percent of high school students in the US use drugs, drink or smoke during school hours.
The survey also found that social networking can actually contribute to drug and alcohol abuse. 75 percent of students said that seeing pictures of teens partying with alcohol or marijuana on Facebook or another social networking site encourages other teens to want to party like that.
Forty-five percent of teens have seen pictures online of other teens getting drunk, passed out or using drugs. Almost half of those kids said it looked like the teens in the pictures were having a good time.
Teens who have seen such pictures are three times likelier to have used alcohol and four times likelier to have used marijuana
So what can parents do to prevent their kid from becoming another statistic. The researchers at Columbia say parental expectations, particularly expressing strong disapproval of teen substance use, can be a decisive factor in a teen’s decision to drink alcohol, use drugs or smoke tobacco.
The researchers also stress the importance of having family meals together at least 5 nights per week. Kids who eat dinner with their family fewer than three per week are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times likelier to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future.
To learn more about this new research and what you can do as a parent, visit the website for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. The URL is www.casacolumbia.org.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.