Teens have always had issues with self-esteem. The captain of the football team, the head cheerleader, and the “in” crowd were present long before social media came along.
Informed Families Blog
In just over a decade, smartphones have become an essential part of our lives, especially for adolescents. According to the Pew Research Center, while 77 percent of American adults have a smartphone, that number soars to 95 percent among teens.
Oddly, though, a device that is universally thought to better connect people may be having the opposite effect, at least among teenagers. Several recent surveys (taken before the pandemic) seem to show that since 2012 loneliness, depression, and incidents of self-harm increased sharply among adolescents in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
The research is finding a marked correlation between the rise of smartphone use and loneliness, a recognized predictor of depression and mental health issues.
With marijuana being legalized in more and more states, many teens now believe it's safe for them to use. But evidence shows it's not. Make sure you and your kids can separate fact from fiction when it comes to marijuana.
MYTH: It’s safer than alcohol
FACT: Alcohol and marijuana are both associated with serious problems, especially if used by teens and young adults under age 21 – when the brain and body are still rapidly developing.
MYTH: It’s okay to drive while high
FACT: After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of driver’s involved in crashes.
Some well-intentioned parents may think that allowing their teens and their teens’ friends to drink at home under adult supervision will keep their kids safe, and lead to healthier attitudes about drinking. The truth is that underage drinking can lead to serious negative consequences for both parents and teens:
- Supplying alcohol to underage youth actually increases (rather than decreases) the risk for continued drinking in their teenage years, and can lead to problem drinking later in life.
- Research shows that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.
- A majority of states have civil and or criminal penalties for adults who serve alcohol to minor at home. Under “social host laws”, party hosts are held responsible for car accidents and other disasters resulting from alcohol use at their home.
With parents working remotely, kids learning virtually and extracurricular activities outside the home postponed, Family Day is every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most families have not had this much time together uninterrupted in some time.
Some families are using this time to reconnect. We love to see the cool things you have been doing - picnics in the backyard, themed dinners, bake-a-thons, game night, movie night and more. Use the #FLFamilyDays hashtag in your social media posts so we can continue to promote strengthening family relationships.
It’s National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, a week focused on connecting teens with science-based facts about drugs and alcohol.
Here are some more fun ways your family can participate in National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week:
- Play Kahoot! E-cigs, Vapes and Mods: What Do You Know About Vaping?
- Take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge Quiz
- Play the Jeopardy-style interactive game: Drug Facts Challenge
- Print a "Not everyone's doing it" placard or pledge card and tweet, snap or post a photo on social media! Make sure to include #NDAFW in your posts.
- Join a Twitter Trivia Challenge hosted by NIDA and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) on Friday, April 3, at 3 p.m. EDT. Follow the hashtag #NDAFW and answer multiple-choice questions about drugs and alcohol.
Is there a link between vaping and coronavirus? While experts say it’s impossible to say for sure, according the National Institute of Drug Abuse the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who vape or smoke tobacco or marijuana because it attacks the lungs.
Informed Families is partnering with the Lung Love Foundation to help educate parents and teens about the dangers of vaping. Lung Love Foundation founder, Chance Ammirata, was only 18 years old when he almost lost his life to Juuling. After his near death experience he took to social media to spread awareness of the dangers of vaping. Watch this CBS news clip to learn more about Chance’s story.
According to the 2019 Monitoring the Future Survey:
- Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug by adolescents.
- One in four 12th graders say they vaped nicotine in the past month, along with 1 in 5 10th graders, and nearly 1 in 10 eighth graders.
- Many teens say they vape for the flavor, to experiment, for social reasons, or to feel good.
- From 2018-2019, the number of 12th graders saying they vape because they are "hooked" more than doubled to 8.1%, up from 3.6%.
Parents and educators can join others across the country to help students make informed decisions by sharing fact-based information about drugs and alcohol.
How Are Your Kids Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. We are all trying to adjust to our new normal as things continue to rapidly change.
While you are struggling with health concerns, school closures, having to work remotely and financial uncertainty, your kids have suddenly been cut off from school, friends, extracurricular activities and more. How are your kids coping?
According to the CDC, children and teens are among the groups of people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis.
Ways to help kids manage stress and anxiety
So what parenting advice is there to help kids manage their stress and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak?
It is important to keep in mind that children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. Positive parenting is key right now.
We’ve all seen the headlines:
“Underage drinking, drugs leads to nearly 1,000 arrests on Gulf Coast beaches”
“Sheriff's Office cracks down on underage drinking in Destin”
“Police being extra vigilant on drunk driving during spring break
"Spring Break 2019 sees drunk students descend on beach to guzzle booze, twerk and pass out in outrageous parties”
If you are the parent of a college-age student preparing to head off to a spring break destination soon, you are likely concerned about whether or not they will engage in underage or binge-drinking and wind up in lots of trouble.