Friday, February 6, 2015

The new math: social media+teens=drugs

Imagine scrolling through Instagram and seeing a picture posted by your favorite celebrity. The picture she/he has posted shows that they are obviously high, because she/he is holding a joint in their hand. In the background of the picture you notice other drugs like ecstasy, for example , or shrooms. You might look at that picture and think “Wow. How is someone that famous doing drugs, posting it on social media and getting away with it? Are they really that cool? I wonder what would happen if I did something like that.” We’ve all thought that haven't we? Teens all around the world are surrounded by more and more social media and societal pressure to “fit in.” Today’s teens spend up to 44.5 hours per week consuming social media . What does being a teenager online mean exactly? There are many answers to this question, but one thing is clear. You need to become more aware of the society you live in and what type of messages you take away from the social media around you.

A popular myth is that drugs are sold in back alleys, or under shady bridges in the ghetto, but did you know that drugs are now being sold on Instagram? According to Tim Rebori “Dealers have the freedom to upload actual pictures of drugs that they want to sell, and they are getting away with it.” Teens, or kids can basically type up any “slang word” for weed and the accounts of these drug dealers will show up. These drugs dealers are selling all different kinds of drugs and no one has tried to put a stop to it, because sadly police haven't made it to the internet yet. Joel Eisenbaum, author of article Teens Finding, Obtaining Drugs through Instagram interviewed a 17 year old student who said, "It's just a lot easier. You've got a picture of it right there, you just hit them up." Teens who are being not only influenced by drugs can now go and buy them online with easy access. Teens are prone to being interested in drugs, or coming across them on social media, because of the type of society we living today with so many electronics.


But teens do not just encounter drugs on Instagram, but on many other social media sites.Twitter is a place where you can “tweet” about things that are happening in your life, but apparently this social media site is not just used for that. Jim Dryden contacted Washington University School of Medicine and they told him about a Twitter account that was sending out pro-marijuana tweets to teens who were following the account. Washington University School of Medicine commented “The tweets are cause for concern, they said, because young people are thought to be especially responsive to social media influences.” This is true Addicted Professional ran a survey of how kids on social media would be more likely to use drugs than kids who don’t use social media. They found that teens who spend time on social networking sites in a typical day, are:
  • Five times likelier to use tobacco;
  • Three times likelier to use alcohol; and
  • Twice as likely to use marijuana.
Some might say that using marijuana is no big deal, in fact they might say that marijuana is “creative” for you. In this article “Does Marijuana Make You More Creative?” NIDA Blog Team says “Many studies over the years have found that marijuana indeed makes users perceive themselves as having more creative thoughts and ideas—which would help explain why so many artists and musicians tout its benefits.” Other drugs are also thought to make you more creative like for example shrooms. A lot of people do not agree with these thoughts and I am one of them.

Marijuana is not going to make you more creative, in fact it will make you less creative than you already were. Sure you might have hallucinations while you are high making you have new ideas, but taking marijuana is also killing your brain cells, so you are technically losing all your logic therefore losing your creativity. Other drugs like shrooms, or LSD will not make you creative either it will only make you hallucinate or have “Bad Trips” or bad hallucinations.

Drugs (especially marijuana) make an appearance on social media everyday, but what matters is becoming more aware of the society you live in and what type of messages you take away from the social media around you. Teens are becoming more and more prone to drugs, because of social media everyday, and soon seeing drugs being sold on Instagram, and looking at pro-marijuana tweets is going to become the normality of our generation and society.


Conclusion: Updated March 5, 2015

My blog post is very important to the concept of Digital Citizenship. It shows how teens are being influenced into doing drugs through social media. My blog comments did not change my mind. All my commenters agreed with me, for the most part. One commenter had me check out some videos that taught me more about how different drugs can affect you, so I had a little more insight on what teens were buying online, or what certain drugs accounts were posting about. This act of the commenter helped clarify my thinking about the issue, because it made me realize how the drugs were affecting kids offline, also there was another comment made that helped me clarify. I was informed that there were drugs being sold by the black market online. This changed my whole outlook, because I had an epiphany and realized that drugs are not just on popular social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. They are in other secret spots on the internet. I did have to do further research to reply to my comments, like watching videos, and reading articles about drugs. My process with blogging really let me express my true feelings out about drugs being sold on the internet and how I feel about the whole situation. It was a personal topic for me, because since 7th grade my brother has been a drug addict, and I’ve had to learn how to deal with not only that, but seeing drugs being sold on social media. Overall blogging felt like a great way to let my feelings out to the online world.

14 comments:

  1. Anna Stewart, thank you for your insight into this subject! I had no idea this was possible before today. The danger of this type of interaction with technology and dealing drugs is very frightening! You spoke about how teens were being influenced to buy drugs when they see famous people posting pictures of themselves under the influence of them, my question is how come they are being aloud to post pictures this and not being caught and stopped? There is picture evidence of them doing it. Also, are social media networks making any kind of effort whatsoever to stop this? Thank you again for your insight!

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    1. Hi Jonathan, thank you for commenting on my blog! To answer your first question I would say the reason these celebrities aren't being stopped is because they are so above everyone else in society that if someone tried doing something about it, the celebrities would have the money and power to stop them, so essentially I think our generation is scared to step up. I also think that our society is so used to seeing drugs on social media that we aren't even that fazed by viewing illegal substances, or at least not as frightened as we used to be. To answer your second question, kind of. I know that is not a good enough answer, but social media sites can only delete the user's account if the user is reported for posting about drugs, or cyber bullying. I will link below the privacy privacies for Twitter, and Instagram I think they will give you more information on how they will stop this corruption. https://instagram.com/about/legal/privacy/ https://twitter.com/privacy?lang=en

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  2. Anna, your conviction about this topic is admirable. What would you suggest other teens do to protect themselves from the influence of images of and stories about drugs on social media? Do you come across drug references when you are not looking for it? I don't tend to see the kinds of things you are talking about unless I specifically search for it, but I'm not a teen. I would imagine this gets complicated in states like ours, where marijuana is now a legal substance, though not for people under the age of 21. I would be interested to know if you have learned any more about the law enforcement response to drug dealing online. Someone has to be watching for it! Silk Road, a famous digital black market for drugs was shut down in October 2013 and just last week the creator, owner, and operator of the website was found guilty on seven federal charges. But this was a huge federal case. In the vast world of cybercrime, I wonder if Instagram is a priority?

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    1. Hi Ms. Gerla, thank you for asking questions and inserting a link for me to check out! To answer your first question I would suggest that teens understand that not everything online is true, or relevant in their daily lives. If they do come across images and stories on social media then they should learn that it is ok to unfollow the user posting about illegal substances, or report them. To answer your second question, yes I do come across drugs references on social media, but I do not specifically search for drugs. I come across jokes about illegal substances, weed printed on clothing, celebrities smoking, and even teens smoking. I went to check out your link, and I found it very interesting. I was not aware that this was happening and I am very happy that it was stopped. After reading that article I think that we should have some sort of "cyber police" online to watch over bad behavior, sadly our generation has not gotten to the point where we finally realize that we need protection online.

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  3. Hi there! Wow! This was such a well written article! Well done! I really enjoyed reading about technology and how it comes to play with the law! I found it so interesting how easy it is now to "pop a joint" (as the kids say) nowadays! The fact that kids have the privacy to go anonymous on the Internet to sell drugs is seemingly a big problem. What do you think about how the media has turned into something negative? According to the New York Times' article titled Dealing with Digital Cruelty, a whole lot more negativity occurs than smoking/selling drugs. What measures do you think need to be taken to stop this? Furthermore, as you mentioned, police haven't gotten on to Instagram or various other social media sites yet, how can we change this so the amount of cruelty or bad influence in the Internet significantly decreases. Overall, thanks for bringing up such a great topic, and so well written!! :) -Helen

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    1. Hi Helen, thank you reading my article, and commenting on it! To answer your first question I think it is astonishing how negative the media has turned, and so quickly too! I am just surprised that kids are not getting caught selling all the substances on social media, but I think as we get further into our generation this problem will be much easier to control. To answer your second question I think that we need to become better users as an online community. I know that that sounds impossible and even if it did work there would still people "stating their opinion", but as a community using social media we need to recognize that these posts and comments are not just hurting people, but influencing them too.

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  4. Hi Anna, really good job on this topic and your factual presentation of it. Instead of using of mostly opinion, I really liked how you were able to find specific facts and studies that fit perfectly into the essay and explained it even more clearly. Since celebrities have a very big effect on someone on social media, do you think that those celebrities upload those pictures for specific reasons or they just don't think about it? Again great topic and great blog!

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    1. Hi there Paul, thank you so much for reading my blog and asking a question! To answer your question, now that you mention I think that they may post it for a reason: Attention. It seems that certain celebrities like to have people talking about them, or giving them attention whether it is negative or positive. They also might be trying to make a statement, or have a "cool" picture. What I think they are not processing about is that there are millions of teens and kids following them and that they are actually being a terrible influence.

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    2. Paul S. (and Anna),
      I think that celebrities lend their voices to causes they believe in sometimes. In this case, one of those causes might be the movement to legalize marijuana throughout the country? There are plenty of folks, famous people and regular citizens, who use their social media platforms to spread their agenda. Of course, even in the state of Washington, where marijuana is legal, you have to be 21 years old to buy it and use it, so the negative influence on young people is still there.

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  5. Hey Anna! I really enjoyed reading your article I think the topic of drugs and their connection to social media is so relevant right now and I'm glad you're bringing this issue to light. How do you think that educators today can teach about drug prevention in a time when so much of teen life is online? I can defenitley relate as a teen who participates in social media activity everyday I really hope this is an issue further discussed in the furter and I suggest you read more articles on the affects of marijuana and you should check out the Youtube channel ASAPscience who have many videos on the topic of drug use. Good Job!

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    1. Hello Naomi, thanks a lot for reading my article! I'm glad you enjoyed it. To answer your question, I think educators should make teens realize that there are drugs on social media and that the old "don't do drugs" should transition into "don't become influenced by drugs while you are online". Educators can share blogs written about this topic and videos. But first I think that the educators should become more aware of the situation online. Luckily our generation is rapidly growing with our use of technology, so they will become aware of the problem soon. I went to check out ASAPscience and it really enforced me on how these certain drugs can affect your brain.Thank you for recommending those videos! They were very informing.

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