The Power of Choice – Middle School Edition
October 2022, Issue 1
Social media can have an impact on underage substance use.
For many of us, social media is an everyday part of life. We check feeds, like posts, and consume media for much of the day. Teenagers experience much of life online as well- and it’s a vital part of their social fabric. Young people are constantly exposed to the perceived social norms and habits of their peers and this can come with strong feelings. They may feel pressured to act a certain way, or be a certain way to fit in with their peers, but you can help them understand the truth.
Understanding the social media world
It can be relatively easy to construct a reality on an Instagram page- and no age group is more literate in social media than teenagers today. Based on what is viewed, it could be perceived that teenagers are engaging in substance use, when we know this isn’t the case. In fact, 87% of Naperville eighth graders choose to be alcohol free. This can get clouded in the eyes of their peers, especially when considering what they see being normalized on social media, and TV as well. It’s important to encourage your child to be a critical analyst of what they’re seeing online.
Talk with your child
Help your teen understand that their perception of teen alcohol and substance use could be just that- a perception. Share with your student the risks of drinking underage and encourage them to make healthy choices. Be honest with your student and allow them to be honest with you- free of judgement. You can help your child understand the truth about underage substance use and encourage them to make healthy choices for their own mind and body.
Be a good example
Be mindful of how you talk about social media and what you see around your child. Let them know that there’s no need to compare yourself to what you may see posted on social media sites. Take note of how social media is regarded in your household and try to devalue posting and “likes”. This can be a great way to help your child understand that social media doesn’t have to hold as much value as it might currently.
Vaping Prevention at Your Child’s School
Check out the latest Power of Choice Middle School vaping campaign poster. Students will see these posted throughout their hallways and on television screens, reminding them that their health matters! Each material provides facts and information on the potentially harmful effects e-cigarettes can have on their growing bodies.
You can view the materials on our website here.
Funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration.