Social Media and Addiction
According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of teens (ages 13 to 17) go online daily, and 71% of teens use more than one social media site, with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as the most popular.
According to the Monitoring the Future study, in 2015, 48.9% of high school seniors reported lifetime use of illicit drugs.
What do these statistics have to do with each other? Social media is an arena where adolescents and teens share their habits, opinions, and behaviors—a mixture ripe for peer pressure and influence, which both play major roles in whether kids try or abuse drugs.
As children grow up, their parents have the greatest influence on them, teaching them acceptable and unacceptable social norms, behavior, and attitudes. However, as kids grow older, their peers have a greater influence on them. Teens are more susceptible to peer influences because their brains are still developing and because social groups play such a huge role in school. Before the internet, peer pressure occurred at school or when hanging out with friends.
But with the advent of the internet and smartphones, teens can be inundated with peer pressure messages at virtually any time of day, in any location. Maybe they read a friend’s Facebook status bragging about alcohol abuse, or see a snapchat showing a friend smoking marijuana. Over time, images and messages about drug use from adolescents’ peers seep in; when their social media feeds normalize drug abuse, teens are much more likely to join in.
On top of this normalization, most kids just want to fit in, whether that means wanting to be considered cool, or wanting to avoid sticking out. Maybe teens see their friends having fun while taking drugs, and want to be a part of the fun too. But unfortunately, wanting to fit in can begin a slippery slope that ends in an addiction treatment center.
In addition to wanting to fit in, peer influence actually increases risky behavior in teens. Studies have shown that teens take more risks when their peers are present and watching, which may translate to social media. If teens are aware that they have an audience in the form of Facebook friends and other online social networks, then they may be more likely to post images, videos, or messages about engaging in risky behaviors like binge drinking and taking drugs. If teens are then rewarded by their peers, with positive comments, feedback, or likes, then they’re likely to continue posting. This kind of activity can ultimately result in addiction and a stay in drug rehab.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, use that smartphone for good and contact our empathetic intake coordinators today. Right Path Drug Rehab is ready to help you find a luxury drug rehab program that will ensure your long-lasting sobriety. With safely monitored detox, specialized staff, and comfortable accommodations, we will work with you to create an individualized treatment program and walk with you toward recovery.