Social Media and Drug Abuse Prevention
Social media has become one of the most significant communication channels for the vast majority of people and US residents in particular. On the one hand, people now have immediate access to communication with users all over the world, as well as the ability to receive information in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, however, the World Web and social media platforms now have a negative impact in terms of shaping other people’s outlook. Because of the Internet, people are discriminated against and bullied for their lifestyle if it is not similar to common trends. One of these trends is drug abuse, which gains popularity through people sharing positive aspects of consuming alcohol and illegal substances.
However, there is a possibility to turn this influence into a full-scale anti-drug prevention channel. Researchers claim that some of the most significant social media tools nowadays are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, whereas the first channel is mostly aimed at an older audience (Evans, Andrade, Goldmeer, Smith, Snider, & Girardo, 2017). All of the aforementioned platforms have the option of targeted advertisement, which helps provide information for people who are interested in it in the first place.
According to the general assumption, adolescents who see their peers or celebrities sharing posts with them abusing drugs, surf the Internet to find out more information on the subject (Hilliard, 2019). Once they presented the slightest interest in the topic, social media algorithms would show them social advertisements explaining the potential consequences of such consumption. The same approach could be applied to adults who were curious about the implications of drug abuse or ways to prevent their families from hazardous addiction. Thus, social media platforms are crucial in terms of immediate communication with those who are at risk of being affected by drug abuse.
Parental Communication on Drug Abuse
While growing up, children are affected both within a family and the community in which they exist. In the best-case scenario, when it comes to drug abuse prevention, each communication channel should be involved to educate adolescents. Communication with parents is, by all means, the most crucial as children are highly influenced by their families since birth (Levinthal, 2014). However, such communication often fails due to parental underestimation of responsibility.
Thus, they perform toxic and inappropriate behavior in front of their kids, who then subconsciously imitate these patterns. Parents that abuse both licit and illicit drugs with their children often raise kids’ interest in the possible outcome of such consumption (Murray, 2019). However, it does not mean that the communication on the subject should be completely ignored. On the contrary, the best way to learn about drug abuse is to talk the issue through with parents without being afraid of asking obvious or inappropriate questions.
If the relationships in the family do not allow the child to receive a proper education, the two other channels are school and the Internet. While the latter might sometimes have a negative impact, learning at school is primarily focused on the children’s wellbeing. Teachers and educators’ major goal is to create a curriculum that would be quite comprehensible for those who observe drug abuse regularly. A simple explanation of the drugs’ negative impact is not enough for children who see their parents consuming drugs for recreational purposes. They, first of all, should be told that such a habit is common among adults, but it requires much effort and self-control to restrain yourself from dependence.
Evans, W., Andrade, E., Goldmeer, S., Smith, M., Snider, J., & Girardo, G. (2017). The living the example social media substance use prevention program: A pilot evaluation. JMIR Mental Health, 4(2). Web.
Hilliard, J. (2019). The influence of social media on teen drug use. Web.
Levinthal, C. F. (2014). Drugs, behavior, and modern society. London, UK: Pearson Education.
Murray, K. (2019). The importance of teen substance abuse prevention. Web.