Smartphones were introduced in 2007, and by 2015 fully 92 percent of teens and young adults owned a smartphone. The rise in depressive symptoms correlates with smartphone adoption during that period, even when matched year by year.
One of the most alarming shifts in the lives of present-day adolescents and young adults, in contrast to preceding eras, is the substantial reduction in face-to-face peer interactions. Instead, they dedicate a significantly larger amount of their time to electronic connections, primarily channeled through the treacherous realm of social media.
Analysts view the surge in depression as a compelling testament to the notion that the digital bonds forged via social media platforms offer meager emotional fulfillment, ultimately plunging users into a sense of social isolation and despair.
From the author of the law enforcement acclaimed 'Delete Me' comes 'Faith Over Technology' by J.A. Thomas, MSW.
Former technology engineer turned crisis counselor and social worker explores the dangers of social media addiction from a clinical & humanist lens.
Video games have the E.S.R.B. Films have rating systems set by parents themselves. Ever wonder why there are no such warnings on social media applications?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, teens in the U.S. who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media may be at a heightened risk for mental health issues.
Pew Research Center | Jama Psychiatry: September 11, 2019
DEFINING SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION
The phenomena of social media addiction can be largely attributed to the dopamine-inducing social environments that social media and social networking sites provide. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram affect the same neural circuitry activated by gambling and recreational drugs to keep users using the platforms as much as possible.
Studies reveal that the endless stream of retweets, likes, and shares from these platforms cause the brain’s reward region to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with illicit substances like cocaine and heroin.
"Shame & social media are best friends."
Dr. Stephan Poulter | Clinical Child & Family Psychologist | Ret. Police Detective
WHILE SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS KEEP THE WORLD CONNECTED, SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION IS A GLOBAL PROBLEM.
AS OF 2023, 4.89 BILLION PEOPLE – OVER ONE-THIRD OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION – USE SOCIAL MEDIA.
ESTIMATES POSIT THAT OVER 210 MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER FROM INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTIONS WORLDWIDE.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
"I don't generally want my kids to be sitting in front of a TV or a computer for a long period of time."
Deaths linked to fentanyl among adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 have skyrocketed year over year, representing 77% of adolescent deaths among teens last year alone.
April, 2022: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
There were 3 million new users of illicit drugs in 2010, or about 8,100 new users per day. Over one-half (57%) were under 18.
The rate of overdose deaths among U.S. teenagers nearly doubled in 2020, the first year of the COVID pandemic, and rose another 20% in the first half of 2021. The increases are almost entirely due to illicit fentanyls, which are increasingly found in counterfeit pills, These counterfeit pills are spreading across the nation, and teens may not realize they are dangerous.
National Institution of Drug Abuse
Journal of the American Medical Association (2022) | Joseph Friedman, MPH
SOCIAL MEDIA IS RUINING YOUR LIFE, BUT YOU'RE STILL USING IT...
Over half (65%) of online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases last year occurred on Facebook.
The Human Trafficking Institute's 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report
ON AVERAGE, ADOLESCENTS AGED 15 TO 19 YEARS HAVE AN ANNUAL SUICIDE RATE OF ABOUT 1 IN 10,000 PEOPLE.
The prevalence of major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms has increased among adolescents in the United States, and adolescent suicide death and attempt rates have increased sharply during the past 2 decades.
Victor Boutros | Human Trafficking Institute CEO
AMONG YOUTHS 12 TO 16 YEAR OF AGE, UP TO 10% OF BOYS AND 20% OF GIRLS HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE.
Social media offers numerous potential benefits to users, including exposure to current events, interpersonal connection, and enhancement of social support networks.2 However, concerns are increasingly raised about potential harms of social media use.2 One-quarter of adolescents think social media has a mostly negative influence on people their age, pointing to reasons like rumor spreading, lack of in-person contact, unrealistic views of others’ lives, peer pressure, and mental health issues.1
ALMOST 93% OF TEENS OWN A SMARTPHONE AND USE SOCIAL MEDIA.
For adolescents in the United States, social media use is ubiquitous. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that 97% of adolescents report using at least 1 of the 7 most popular social media platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit). Moreover, digital media use by adolescents is common: 95% report owning or having access to a smartphone, and almost 90% report they are online at least several times a day.
Many follow influencers or dream of becoming an influencer themselves. The reality is, influencers are not what you think. Virtual personalities created by companies ‘have potential to manipulate young people’. Welcome to a new breed of dealers.
Faith Over Technology (2023) | J.A. Thomas, MSW
CELL PHONE BANS IN SCHOOL DON’T PREVENT CYBERBULLYING
In early 2019, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released data showing that schools where cell phones were disallowed also had a higher number of principal-reported cases of cyberbullying.
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SOCIAL COMPARISON AND EATING DISORDERS: A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP
Many children & adolescents (and adults) cannot discriminate between what they see and what is real online. For instance, young people are often unaware that digital technology and manipulation in the fashion industry use air brush and digital enhancement to portray the ‘ideal’ female and male body. These images promote unrealistic standards that are impossible to achieve.
Even more startling, the proliferation of pro eating disorder websites and social media groups encourage disordered eating behaviors. Heavy users reported poorer quality of life and more disordered eating behaviors (JMED, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics 2012)
Much of the information on DrugFr33.org is explored in depth in the critically acclaimed & law enforcement endorsed book "D.S.M. 7 Steps to Social Media Abstinence: The Desktop Guide to Deleting Social Media. Why Big Social is Ruining You and No, It's Not Just a 'Digital Native' Dilemma.: #Delete Me".
Note: While books featured on this site are circulating in print on Amazon, we provide free copies of all materials to school resource officers
& educators. Please use our chat below for inquires.
"Traffickers frequently exploit existing vulnerabilities of victims. While we often envision traffickers as extensive syndicates or networks targeting a large number of victims, in reality, most traffickers operate individually. They don't function as sprawling criminal enterprises. Instead, individual traffickers usually exploit a small group of victims at a time."
We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg even with this progress, as a comprehensive approach is needed to effectively combat online crime and trafficking. Popular social media applications like Tik Tok, Instagram, and Snapchat make it easy for underage users to fall victim to predators and the prolific and exponential growth of these platforms’ user-base, combined with their inherently addictive and normalized usage makes it extremely difficult to for law enforcement intervention.
DRUG DEALERS PREFER SELLING DRUGS ONLINE BECAUSE IT IS A CONVENIENT AND FAST WAY TO SELL DRUGS.
-From 'Delete Me' (2021)
DON'T WORRY, SOCIAL MEDIA IS A BILLION $$ INDUSTRY AND IT'LL GO ON WITHOUT YOU.
Here at Drug Fr33, we know that sometimes all it takes to change the world is a little support. Since our founding in 2016, we are determined to make an impact.