The virtual world has spread its root far and wide, ever since the commercial deployment of the Internet in 1990. Living in an era where technology and globalization have become the driving forces for change, intensive bombardment of advertisements and ubiquitous assimilation of unregulated information has redefined the concept of information sharing. With the availability of information on fingertips, it has become a difficult task to guide children due to the widening of the generation gap.
Since the late-90s, the dominance of social media sites and blogging platforms has made its presence tremendously felt across all age groups, particularly youngsters. Despite the potential of such platforms to connect people, experts have expressed worry over their multidimensional negative impacts on the users.
In an age where one has to stay relevant to be relevant, individuals around the globe are now compelled by the bandwagon effect (psychological phenomenon where people do something because others are doing it) to pay little heed to their beliefs or directly override them. One of the serious implications of such an effect has been that a large proportion of youngsters are now accessing social networking sites (SNSs), such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., more vigorously than before. This puts them, particularly children, at risk of committing mistakes that can be detrimental to their health and life.
Exposure to social media sites may trigger substance abuse
In 2011, a survey conducted by CASA Columbia at the Columbia University found that American teens in the age group of 12 to 17 exposed to the social media sites were more likely to use alcohol, marijuana and other illicit drugs. With 70 percent of the teens spending time on SNSs daily, they are at an increased risk of being exposed to images and information that can digress them toward substance abuse.
Of those who knew a student dealer in the university, 25 percent claimed that prescription drugs were available at school, along with marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. Another shocking revelation was that teens between ages 12 and 17 years reported that the photos of substance abuse by their peers emboldened them to partake in similar activities.
Divulging inaccurate information on drug forums propagates drug abuse
A recent study authored by Sanna Ronka, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, found a link between increase in social media sites and a greater degree of nonmedical use of prescription drugs. The study found that many of the popular online drug forums that divulge information on drug-related subjects can be classified as credible and not so credible.
Drug enthusiasts and those curious about drugs stand vulnerable due to their tendency to pick up factually incorrect information. As a result, they may start consuming these drugs by believing in the brand name or going by the goodwill of the sites. With the easy accessibility of information, people are prone to believe that whatever pops out on their search feed as a solid source of information while.
The study pursued the activity of a Finnish drug forum called Dopeinfo, which caters to people’s need to understand drugs to enhance their experience with the nonmedical drug use. The study examined the members, activities and the contents of the social media sites to come out with the following findings:
- Of the 550,000 visits, 225,000 were unique visits and 2,500 members were registered members.
- Average visitors were males between the ages 16 and 40 years.
- SNSs are a hotspot that inseminate misinformation, drug abuse, and downplays the adverse effects of drugs due to misinterpretation and unreliable sources of information.
Recovery road map
Social media sites can circulate the notion that it is not too dangerous to use one’s body for experimentation with drugs, especially with pharmaceutical-grade drugs. However, the illegitimacy of online materials can irresponsibly proliferate drug use and abuse. Therefore, it is essential to consume such drugs only under the supervision of an expert.
If you or your loved one is battling prescription drug abuse, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California to access the best prescription drug addiction treatment in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online to know more about the drug addiction treatment centers in California.