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Social networking increases risk of teen drug abuse: study | Reuters

By Molly O'Toole


WASHINGTON Time spent social networking increases the risk of teens smoking, drinking and using drugs, according to a national survey of American attitudes on substance abuse released on Wednesday.

On a typical day, 70 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 -- 17 million teenagers -- spend from a minute to hours on Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites, according to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

But for this same age bracket, social-network-savvy teens are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana than teens who do not spend any of their day on social networking sites.

"The results are profoundly troubling ... the anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression, suggestive television programing and what-the-hell attitudes put teens at sharply increased risk of substance abuse," CASA Founder and Chairman Joseph Califano Jr said in a statement.

Knowledge Networks surveyed 1,037 teens ages 12 to 17 and 528 parents of these teens over the Internet. QEV Analytics, Ltd. conducted the annual telephone survey of 1,006 teens 12 to 17, asking questions CASA has used to track trends.

Results revealed that half of teens who spend any time social networking in a given day have seen pictures of kids "drunk, passed out, or using drugs on these sites."

But even beyond the daily teen social networkers, 14 percent of teens who reported spending no time on such sites in a given day said they have seen pictures of drunk, passed out, or drug-using kids on the sites.

Teens who had seen such pictures were four times likelier to be able to get marijuana, three times likelier to be able to get prescription drugs without a prescription, and twice as likely to be able to get alcohol in a day at most.

Teens who had seen such pictures were also more than twice as likely to think they would try drugs in the future, and much more likely to have friends who used illegal drugs.

"Especially troubling-- and alarming-- are that almost half of the teens who have seen pictures ... first saw such pictures when they were 13 years of age or younger," the report said. "These facts alone should strike Facebook fear into the hearts of parents of young children."

But the surveys, which also questioned adults, found that nine of 10 parents do not think teens spending time social networking are any more likely to drink or use drugs.

Only 64 percent of parents said they monitor their child's social networking page.

The authors of the report called for parents -- still the greatest influence on a teen's decision whether to ofertas mix de vendas smoke, drink, or use drugs -- to present a consistent and unified front against substance abuse.

"In the cultural seas into which we toss our teens, parents are essential to preventing their substance abuse."

The report also urged operators of social networking sites to curb such images and deny use to adolescents who post them.

"Continuing to provide the electronic vehicle for transmitting such images constitutes electronic child abuse," it said.

(Editing by Greg McCune)

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Tired of Facebook? Here are five social networking alternatives

Fed up with Facebook?

Facebook is clearly the top tool for social networking, but new and arguably more innovative social networking alternatives have emerged in recent years to fill the void left by Friendster and MySpace. So if you're looking to network somewhere other than Facebook, here are five alternative sites.


One of the most popular social networks on the web today, Pinterest has received widespread acclaim for its fresh take on the standard photo sharing social network.

"Pinterest is a good example of an alternative social network that focuses on a simple feature -- photo sharing -- which has a complete social network built around it," said Christopher Gentile, CEO of the new social network Family iBoard.

This more focused approach to social networking helps create a simpler and more intuitive user experience.


Path is a simple photo and message sharing social network that limits users to a maximum of 150 connections. These restrictions are designed to provide a more private and personal experience, by encouraging users to connect only with the people they know best (the number 150 is based on "Dunbar's number," which purportedly denotes the limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain genuine social relationships).

In this more intimate setting, users may be encouraged to share photos and send messages more freely than on a more public platform like Facebook.


Foursquare is a location-based social network that lets you "check in" at venues using your phone or mobile device. You can then connect with other Foursquare users to share information about where you are and what you are doing. The program also allows you to search your location for the restaurants, bars, shops and other amenities, and receive personalized recommendations based on other users' experiences.


Critics argue that the impersonality of the Internet has compromised the once thriving sense of community in America's neighborhoods. Nextdoor's mission is to rekindle this community spirit in neighborhoods across the U.S., by connecting users and their neighbors through a localized social network.

Users join with their home address and are automatically placed into a home neighborhood. This ensures that all of the content, connections and messages you see will come from other users living in your area.


Roamz isn't so much an alternative to traditional social networks as it is a new way to SAIA LONGA CORAL embrace them. This mobile app gathers data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare and alerts you to the most interesting or significant things going on around your local area. This information is gathered to your mobile device to provide you with an inside view on the best things to see and do in your local area.

Similar to a cross between Google and Facebook, the social network also allows you to post status updates and share photos.

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Social Networking for Business - CBS News

Last Updated Sep 15, 2008 1:05 PM EDT

Social networking may sound fluffy, but it can translate into real benefits for you and your company. William Baker, a professor of marketing at San Diego State University, surveyed 1,600 executives and found that firms that rely heavily on external social networks scored 24 percent higher on a measure of radical innovation than companies that don't. Online networks can help you hire the right people, market your product -- or even find a manufacturer. Here are four professionals who used social networks to change the game.

Finding Unexpected Collaborators

Tools:, a social network for scientific practitioners


Saverio Gentile, a visiting fellow in the neurobiology laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, had been using, a social network for doctors, to discuss medical journal articles. While mulling over a paper on nicotinic receptors, he connected with two researchers he'd never worked with before -- though they were all in the same building. "Without the social network, even though we were a few meters apart, we would have never known we were all working on this," Gentile says. Working together, Gentile and his newfound colleagues, Elaine Gay and Jerrel Yakel, discovered a possible mechanism that can explain why nicotine receptors work the wrong way when associated with congenital myasthenia gravis, a hereditary disease that causes severe muscle fatigue. Since gathering further data on the breakthrough, the group has been selected to deliver a paper on the subject at a Society for Neuroscience convention in November.

Building a Global Business From Scratch


LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr


When Nick Kellet got in touch with a former co-worker through LinkedIn, he was interested to hear that she was teaching Chinese to the inventors of the board game Cranium to help them work with their factory in China. Kellet had recently left his job to publish a board game of his own, called GiftTRAP. His friend arranged an introduction to the factory owners in Shanghai, and soon Kellet had a manufacturer for his game. Next he turned to photo-sharing site Flickr and found images from more than 500 different photographers that he could legally use for his game. Once GiftTRAP had been produced, Kellet used social networks to find buyers at Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us. "It's not easy to get into those places," he says. "You get stonewalled at reception." Then he plugged into BoardGameGeek to connect with influential players in the tabletop-gaming community and get his product into the hands of reviewers. The long hours online paid off. Games Magazine declared GiftTRAP the best party game of 2008; it has been translated into eight languages and is now in its third print run. Kellet isn't done with social networking, either -- he's just developed a Facebook application that lets people play his game online.

Finding Talent in the Trenches


Blogs, Twitter


LaunchSquad, a San Francisco PR firm working with freshly minted startups, has used social media to find potential job candidates who are skilled social networkers. "If we were going to attract the candidates with the skill sets we wanted, they had to be active within social media before they even came on," says partner and co-founder Jason Throckmorton. "We began looking for people who were commenting on our client companies or things related to public relations." Combing through Twitter, they found then-University of Oregon senior Megan Soto, who had tweeted about the virtual community Vivaty, a LaunchSquad client. A quick Google search turned up Soto's blog, and the folks at LaunchSquad liked what they saw. The firm contacted Soto, interviewed her, and ultimately offered her a position, which Soto happily accepted. "She never would have found us unless we found her," Throckmorton says.

Viral Marketing on the Cheap


Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter


When Jennifer Wakefield of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission began social networking, she knew that film and media would be her target. "We have green nearly 365 days out of the year here in Orlando," she says, which makes the city ideal for film shoots. She created profiles for metro Orlando on both MySpace and Facebook, sites popular with film and entertainment professionals. Meanwhile, the commission's Suzy Spang Allen, VP of film and digital media development, uses Twitter to connect with others at industry events like South by Southwest, Sundance, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Wakefield reports that more eyes are already on Orlando: The number of producers scouting the Florida metropolis is up by 70 percent over last year.

2008 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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