Facebook is already annoying young an old alike by allowing friends to upload unflattering photos and provide updates on their virtual farming endeavors, but now the site has finally gone too far. It seems that thanks to the social networking sites, America's youth have discovered alcohol and drugs.
Researchers from Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse found that teens who use Facebook or other social networking sites every day are three times as likely to drink, twice as likely to use marijuana, and five times more likely to smoke. Seventy percent of 12 to 17-year-old use these sites every day, and it's pretty obvious that Facebook itself is the root of the problem. Study author Joseph A Califano, Jr. explains:
"The findings in this year's survey should strike Facebook fear into the hearts of parents of young children and drive home the need for parents to give their children the will and skill to keep their heads above the water of the corrupting cultural currents their children must navigate."
Califano claims that kids are engaging in more risky behavior because they see photos of kids getting drunk and using drugs on the site. He adds, "Continuing to provide the electronic vehicle for transmitting such images constitutes electronic child abuse."
Facebook isn't the only thing corrupting the children. The study found that one third of teens watch shows like Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, and Gossip Girl, and that group is twice as likely to drink and do drugs. It makes sense that seeing other people participate in dangerous behavior is making kids think that it's acceptable, but we seem to recall kids getting trashed before Snooki came into our lives. Facebook and sleazy TV shows probably aren't the main factors inspiring kids to drink and do drugs, even if they aren't helping. Our theory: If your parents are strict enough to limit your Facebook use and Gossip Girl viewing, they've also given you a curfew and talked to you about substance abuse.
Image via Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock.