teen on compWhether or not we would like to admit it the truth is that the media plays a huge role in our perception on how life should be. With the rapid growth of social media and the youth’s need to connect with others being met almost instantaneously, the media’s messages can have a great impact on how teens view their lives and lifestyle.

Online Teen Drug Culture

For teens growing up in the ever changing technological era most of their time is spent online whether its blogging, posting, liking or sharing. Sites and apps such as Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram and Twitter allow you to upload your own content and also to share the content uploaded by others. This network made up of countless niche communities are a part of the online media influencing the youth.

The online drug culture via social media sites such as Tumblr depict drug use as harmless fun and an escape from reality. The images, gifs, videos and posts shared send the common message that it’s okay to try drugs, even if its once. These drug culture communities glamorize abusing drugs or alcohol and never show the consequences or harmful effects of drugs. The online teen drug culture also depicts adults as judgmental, untrustworthy and an authority that must be defied.

Online teen drug culture trends

The online content often depicts freedom, happiness, and even beauty in using drugs.

Below are some trends from the online teen drug culture:

  • Gifs with people abusing drugs
  • Images, videos or gifs of people having fun while abusing substances
  •  Photographing the changes of one’s pupil while on a substances
  •  Pictures or gifs of popular cartoons or shows with references to drugs and partying
  •  Photos of places to hide or stash substances

 

     Here are some examples: online teen drug culture

What can you do to help your teen

The best plan of action against such an influential movement is to not play into the stigmatized trap the online media has created around parents not understanding or being untrustworthy. Instead of banning your teen from these sites and becoming the monsters the online community portray parents.

Here is a list on how to speak to your teens abut the online drug culture:

  1. Do your research – Hit the search bar for popular drugs among teens and even check out what the teen drug online community looks like for yourself. Doing research improves your knowledge of the many different substances and how they affect your teen.
  2. Talk to your teen – Now that you’ve done your research sit down with your teen to understand if they are doing drugs and why. If they are not doing drugs talk about why they think these images represent a lifestyle they are interested in. Your teen may not know the dangers of using a substance so it is imperative to properly inform them of the effects drugs have on their body. Be sure to not be judgmental, condescending or overbearing the goal is to understand why they are using or why they think using is okay.
  3. Exercise Parental Controls – Optimize your browsers to block images and content related to drugs and drug abuse. In light of this, also make the time to sit down with your teen and research the harmful effects abusing drugs.
  4. Get help – If your teen displays signs of addiction or excessive drug abuse look into getting them help. Choose a rehab center that fits your needs, budget and can provide your teen with the proper treatment they deserve.

*GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) – a format for image files that supports both animated and static images.