There’s a great deal of concern about social media and its impact on teens. Over the last decade, there’s been an explosion of Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. These sites are providing information but also advertisements for different substances that teens might use. The statistics show us that over 90% of teens are on social media in some form. This is probably a conservative figure but that means that 9 out of 10 teenagers use all these social media platforms.
With this access and with the exchange of information and considering the fact how savvy these companies are, they are advertising and providing information where these teens might get the notion, they could use substances. For example, they’re using celebrities sometimes to show their drug use and how it helps them sing better, dance better, and perform better, and our teens are very impressionable, especially in middle school and high school to these kinds of factors.
What Should Parents Look Out For?
They should look out for the incredible increase in vaping. Now the good news is that cigarette smoking has gone down among teens, but the unwelcome news is that vaping has increased dramatically among teenagers. A lot of the companies that are in the vape manufacturing business have advertised heavily on social media. Some of these companies have also been called out. So, they have had to pull out or step back on some of their advertising. There’s a significant number of companies that are advertising still and they show substance being glamorized.
It has been found that those products can be a starter, a gateway for other drugs. It does not always necessarily mean that people are going to go to harder drugs but if you start out smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or vaping, it’s quite easy to see that these other products are appealing. Someone then might move on to cocaine or heroin or other substances, especially if they see that some celebrities are using them as well.
One of the things about middle school students in particular is that they are very impressionable. They are trying to decide which way too with what trends and when the companies marketed the vape products that were aiming the products are this very crowd. For example, watermelon-floured, mint-flavored, mango, and strawberry, are all these flavors in their product to get a person started, and when they’re addicted to this, the goal is to move them up to higher dosage products. Some of these products have a small part of nicotine as well. So, you’re not only getting the flavor, but you’re also getting the nicotine.
What Can Schools and Educators Do?
The message we would like to convey is that teenagers should get lots and lots of information at the middle school level so that when they are faced with a choice to snort or smoke something, they know what the wiser decision would be to make. Make programs on like skills and hold seminars dedicated to alcoholism, vaping, and substance abuse. The institution should focus on educating the teachers as well that this is something that should be taken lightly, this is a proper health issue.
Teenagers are people that are still developing physically intellectually and emotionally. They need more information. The adolescent is something still developing even in the early 20s. there are various hotline numbers you have access to, there is information available on various platforms if you need help, and all you have to do and go out and ask for help. Parents should also have a better understanding of the trends going around or the social media applications that are hot these days to better understand and relate with their children. This will make communicating with them a lot easier.