In the past drugs could be purchased from a dealer on the corner. But today, youth can use the Internet to buy drugs, learn how to use drugs to get high, and see what to expect from the experience.
They can even view photos and videos of other people actually using drugs. All this is possible on the Internet through social networking, where a teen can interact with others, using a computer, iPad, or smartphone.
Some of the best known social networking sites today are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn,YouTube and MySpace. Your teen may also get on websites that host blogs, chat rooms, forums, or where people post photos and videos. If teens see other pictures of teens partying with marijuana, getting drunk or using drugs, they may think it looks fun and want to try it.
How does a parent ensure your children use online privileges wisely and avoid inappropriate or deceptive drug-related material?
- Parents should be aware of what their children are viewing on social media sites. Monitor what your children do on line by becoming acquainted with the social media sites they visit. Review their browser history with web browser tools and software designed to block certain sites.
- Know how to create a profile, "friend" your child and be part of his online life. Try to see what your teen is saying in chat rooms and in instant messaging and what photos may be posted on social media sites.
- Onguardonline.gov has a comprehensive overview of social networking risks, texting, computer security and offers practical tips