LONDON: Teenagers using social networking sites like Facebook are risking themselves to end up being addicted to drink and drugs, researchers have found.
Scientists at the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse (Casa) at Columbia University, surveyed over 1,000 children aged between 12 and 17 via an online poll and another 1,000 by telephone, Daily Mail reported.
It was observed teenagers spending any time on social networks daily were five times as likely to smoke than those who didn't visit such sites. They were also three times more likely to drink alcohol and had double the chance of smoking cannabis.
The nationally-representative survey indicated that peer pressure was playing a major role, with 40 percent of the teenagers seeing pictures of friends getting drunk on sites like Facebook and MySpace.
Half of the youngsters saying that they watched pictures of people being drunk, passed out, or using drugs first saw such images when they were just 13 or even younger.
Joseph Califano, Jr who is CASA Columbia's Founder and Chairman and former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare said: "The relationship of social networking site images of kids drunk, passed out, or using drugs and of suggestive teen programming to increased teen risk of substance abuse offers grotesque confirmation of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
"The time has come for those who operate and profit from social networking sites like Facebook to deploy their technological expertise to curb such images and to deny use of their sites to children and teens who post pictures of themselves and their friends drunk, passed out or using drugs."
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