Marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes have been synonymous with teenage kids and their will to experiment with their new found independence. However, when the experimentation fails, a good number of high school kids end up becoming substance abusers that numbs their sense of right and wrong. Most of these teen abusers get involved in illegal activities, such as pushing drugs, street crimes and cyber bullying.
According to the “Monitoring the Future Study” conducted at the University of Michigan, USA, about 21% of high school students used marijuana, 19% smoked cigarettes and 41% consumed alcohol in the last 30 days of the survey. The researchers found out that abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol was quite common among the high school students.
In the same study, researchers found out that substance abuse was one of the causes of cyberbullying; that is students who reported consuming alcohol or smoking marijuana were significantly more likely to be involved in cyberbullying.
Be it the victim of cyberbullying or the offender, researchers found a link between them and substance abuse. However, the offender’s relationship with substance abuse was stronger than the victims. The study showed that students who were smoked marijuana were 1.5 times more likely to be victims of cyberbullying and 1.7 times more likely to be the offenders.
In another study of similar kind, researchers from Finland surveyed more than 2000 teenagers in their country to examine the impact of cyberbullying on mental health and involvement in substance abuse. The research, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2010, concluded that victims of cyberbullying get emotionally and mentally distressed that cause disruptions in their social interactions and increases level of anxiety; which leads to use of illicit drugs and alcohol.
Similarly, cyberbullies were found to have increased tendency to drink to the point of getting drunk and smoke marijuana and cigarettes frequently. Thus, the study concluded that teenagers involved in both these roles – cyberbullies and cyberbullied – are at high risk of consuming alcohol at a young age and using other drugs that affect their mental and physical health.
In light of these studies, parents need to make some tough decisions and take strict measures if they notice changes in their teenagers’ behavior and activities. Besides keeping the traditional way of physical check on their teens, they can also take help from online parental control software, so that they know how to prevent cyberbullying, in both cases of bullying or being bullied.
Source: Cyberbullying Research Center, http://cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying-and-substance-use/