Monday, August 16, 2010
TEENS BACK TO SCHOOL – DANGERS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING AND MEDIA TECHNOLOGY
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - August 10, 2010 – “New omnibus research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that more than one-third of parents are concerned that TV (38 percent), computers (37 percent) and video games (33 percent) make it harder for them to communicate with their media-engrossed teens about risky behaviors, like drug and alcohol use. The survey of more than 1,200 parents also confirms that a quarter or more are worried that newer forms of media, including cell phone texting (27 percent) social networking sites, like Facebook (25 percent) and Twitter (19 percent) hinder effective parent/child communication about the dangers of teen substance abuse”, according to the Partnerships for a Drug-Free America website.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study of 2,000 teens released earlier this year, “the average amount of time young people (8-18 year olds) spend consuming entertainment media is up dramatically to almost eight hours per day – that’s at least 53 hours a week of immersion in some form of media. The research also noted that the more media teens consume, the less happy they tend to be and those who are most captivated by media reported their academic performance suffered. About half (47 percent) of heavy media users reported they usually get fair to poor grades, mostly C’s or lower, compared to about a quarter (23 percent) of light media users”, states the Partnership website.
“These recent findings present a clear picture of the opportunity for Teen Drug Abuse Risk Factors. Common behaviors found in teens who are abusing drugs includes isolation, social life withheld from parents thru password coded or invitation only websites (Facebook, MySpace) social sites or media (YouTube, Twitter,) and telephone texting, in addition to declining academic interest and declining grades, and an immersion in societal perceptions of drug use.”, says Karen Corcoran the Co-Founder of Inspirations For Youth And Families, a teen residential substance abuse treatment center.
Corcoran states: “This research reveals a need for parents to take a more active role in their teenager’s lives. Parents should be aware of how teens are spending their time online and remain aware of the impact all media consumption is having on their teens. Videos of teens using drugs, abusing cough medicine, and becoming intoxicated, are readily available on YouTube and other social networking websites. In many cases, reality television glorifies and sensationalizes drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and dysfunction in the family.” According to Corcoran, a mental health professional and parent of young adults, “It is difficult to gain knowledge of a teen’s social life and friends if communication, along with time spent between parent and adolescent was not previously established. Parents taking time to speak with their children while spending quality time together, are less likely to become isolated from their child-turned-teen and more likely to transition into the role of parental investigator.”
According to research, kids and teen’s cell phone ownership has increased sharply since 2004, from 39 percent to 66 percent in 2009, while ownership of iPods jumped drastically from 18 percent to 76 percent over the same time period. Karen Corcoran of Inspirations for Youth and Families, aka Inspirations Teen Rehab states: “Teen use of cellular telephones, which now includes internet accessibility, further distances the teenager from parental monitoring and protection.” Among kids and teens, cell phone ownership has increased since 2004, from 39 percent to 66 percent in 2009, while ownership of iPods increased from 18 percent to 76 percent over the same time period. Corcoran further states: “ If cell phones and ipods are not enough to create a growing concern regarding teen behaviors, early teenage access to vehicles will definitely initiate a concern regarding the separation that teen driving creates between the teenager and parent. When teenagers are given a car or any motorized transportation, it immediately creates a teen world withheld from the supervision of parents and family.” “Teen drug use, teen drug abuse, and other dangerous behaviors are just the beginning of a teenagers exposure to a world in which teens are unprepared to encounter, when the parent’s ability to monitor a teen is removed,” according to Karen Corcoran.
Inspirations for Youth and Families and their Inspirations Teen Rehab program knows all-to-well, the results of teen behavior and poor choices, associated with over exposure to media and the isolation of teen’s parents it creates. “Teens entering teen rehab, report an ability to withhold most of their daily activities and knowledge of their social life, from their parents and family members,” states Dr. James Hughes, Chief Executive Officer and child psychologist for Inspirations for Youth and Families. LLC.
Teenagers entering their freshman year of high school or returning to high school, presents an opportunity for parents to set new boundaries, begin conversations, and schedule parent and teen talk-time, in an effort to prevent the typical teen behavior issues and teen drug use and teen drug abuse concerns. Take time to talk with your teenager. Create family time. Communication with teens is the best prevention tool a parent can use.
Written by: Christopher Walsh
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