Studies show that social networking sites can lead to dangerous addictions
Teenagers using social networking sites like Facebook are
at extremely high risk of ending up being addicted to drink and drugs, researchers
have found. Scientists at the National Centre on Addiction and Substance
Abuse (Casa) at Columbia University, surveyed over 1, 000 children aged between
12 and 17 via an online poll and another 1, 000 by telephone, a popular newspaper
It was observed that teenagers spending a significant amount of time on social networks
daily were five times as likely to smoke than those who didnt visit such sites too
regularly. They were also three times more likely to abuse alcohol and had double
the chances of smoking cannabis (marijuana).
The representative survey indicated that peer pressure was playing a major role,
with 40 per cent of the teenagers seeing pictures of friends getting drunk on social
Half of the youngsters say that as early as the tender age of 13, they started seeing
pictures of people being drunk, passing out, or using drugs posted on some of these
social networking sites.
Joseph Califano, Jr who is CASA Columbias Founder and Chairman and former US Secretary
of Health, Education, and Welfare said: The relationship shared between social networking
websites and images of kids drunk, or using drugs lead to a marked increase in the
risk of teen substance abuse. This, in turn, offers a grotesque confirmation of
the age-old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
The time has come for those who operate and profit from social networking sites
to deploy their technological expertise to curb such images and to deny use of their
sites to children and teens who post such pictures of themselves and their friends.
Anuj Sidhwani, a 12 grade student, agrees. He says, I started drinking at the age
of 14 because I saw pictures on Facebook of my brother and his friends drinking.
Courtesy: Times of India