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The Connection Between Social Media and Substance Abuse

To say that social media is everywhere is a huge understatement. Statistics provided by the University of Maine show there are nearly 5 billion social media users worldwide with 410,000 new users joining every day. While many teens use social media to connect with friends and celebrities and to catch up on the latest news and trends, social media is also a platform that can negatively influence young people. One of the biggest of those negative influences is the glorification of drugs and substance abuse.

This article highlights the connection between social media and substance abuse and the ways you can constructively talk to your teen about the dangers of substance use. If your teen is using substances and slipping away from you, it is critical that you find professional help. The Berman Center is a premier Atlanta outpatient mental health center for teens. Our programs and services are specifically designed for the unique needs of teens and provide them and your family the tools needed to break free from substance use for good.

Call The Berman Center right now.

What Is The Connection Between Social Media And Substance Abuse?

Teenagers and social media go hand in hand. Statistics show that 90 percent of teens aged 13-17 have used social media with 75 percent having at least one profile on a social media platform. For teens, exposure to social media can be positive: they can use it to stay connected to friends, to have outlets to express themselves, and to find support for shared hobbies. However, social media can also have a negative influence on teens through the exposure to cyberbullying and online predators and the glorification of substance use.

Teenagers are highly susceptible to peer pressure, and social media platforms such as Facebook, X, and Instagram expose young people to those who engage in risky behaviors such as excessive drug and alcohol use. Whether it is normal people, celebrities, or influencers, consistent exposure to drug and alcohol use normalizes those behaviors. As a result, teens may feel that it is alright to use substances because others are doing so. 

Additionally, social media often acts as a catalyst for the development of mental health issues that can lead to substance abuse. Social media platforms perpetuate the best and most glamorous and desired traits. It many cases, teens may feel inadequate because they can’t reach the standards of those they admire. As a result, they may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with their feelings.

Finding Ways To Talk To Your Teen About Social Media and Substance Abuse

As a parent, you must have a firm grasp on the influence of social media on your teenager–especially when it comes to the marketing of substances and substance use. When talking to your teen, you must avoid coming off as preachy and talking down to your teen. Instead, actively listen to your teenager and put yourself in their shoes. 

Ask them to critically think about the alcohol-related advertising and their exposure to people using drugs and alcohol on social media. While it may seem normal and glamorous, you must remind your teen that substance use will have significant negative effects on their lives that can last well into adulthood. You may also consider changing the settings on their social media accounts in order to block ads that advertise substances and report that content when needed.

Most importantly, let your teen know they can come to you if they are curious or concerned about the content they see online regarding drugs and alcohol. If you used substances as a teen, talk to them about your experiences and how it negatively affected your life. Additionally, encourage your teen to take up hobbies and interests that pull them away from their smartphones and tablets such as sports, music, and art. 

Stop Addiction In Its Tracks With Help From The Berman Center

Drug addiction can ruin the lives of teens, their families, and the community at large. If you suspect your teen is using substances, call The Berman Center toll-free today. We offer evidence-based intensive outpatient programs in Atlanta specifically designed for teenagers. Our outpatient programs and Atlanta teen therapy allow both your teen and your family to learn about addiction and give you the tools to leave addiction behind.

Call The Berman Center today and help your teen kick substance abuse to the curb for good.

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