U.S. official says online drug videos threaten teens

By Heretic.Ape. · Oct 8, 2008 · Updated Oct 15, 2008 · ·
  1. Heretic.Ape.
    U.S. official says online drug videos threaten teens

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The director of the White House war on drugs said on Monday that Internet videos that show people getting high pose a dangerous threat to teenagers by encouraging them to use drugs and alcohol.

    John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke as his office released a study about drug-related videos on popular sites such as MySpace. He said in a Reuters interview that parents need to monitor their teens' online activities.

    The study, which was conducted in June, found that 5 percent of teens using the Internet saw at least one drug-related video that month. More than a third of the teens were under 16.

    Walters said the often amateurish videos, posted by Internet users on video-sharing pages and social networking sites, play up everything from cocaine use to smoking marijuana with a device called a bong.

    "Parents would be horrified to think that people are sneaking into their house to encourage their kids to build a bong or to chug on beer at age 13," Walters said.

    "The fact is those people are sneaking into your house through your Internet connection on your computer," he said.
    Walters said while the number of teens in the study who viewed drug-related videos was limited to 5 percent, he suspects the number of teens exposed to that content over the course of a year is higher.


    The study was conducted for Walters' agency, by the research firm Nielsen Online and 6,000 teens participated.
    The study found 40 percent of the drug-related videos seen by teens in the study contained explicit use of drugs or footage of intoxicated users.

    Videos the ONDCP found particularly troublesome included footage of teens driving while getting high or snapping pictures of other teens drunk or passed out.

    "Kids already did stupid stuff, but what's new is kids are recording what they're doing and broadcasting it for the world in competition for a kind of celebrity," said Peter Zollo, co-founder and chief executive officer of TRU, a market research firm that studies how teens use the Internet.

    Walters said teens rely heavily on the Web for schoolwork, and parents cannot simply pull the plug.

    Walters advised parents to check the browser history on their teens' computer. Also, since the videos are posted on sites where teens meet other Internet users, Walters said parents should look at text messages and incoming and outgoing phone numbers on their teens' cell phones.

    "Nobody's talking about censorship over the Internet here, what we're talking about is legitimate parental supervision," he said.

    (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
    Tue Oct 7, 2008 3:42pm EDT
    By Alex Dobuzinskis

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  1. Greenport
    Eyyyah, but that's the beauty of the internet. Kids are only going to watch videos related to drugs if they are searching for drug-related terms. The nature of the internet is that ANYONE can find ANYTHING at ANY time, and for that reason all ideas of the world can be spread at lightning-speed.

    Those kids aren't innocent, they most likely didn't see any videos related to 'marijuana' until they stuck that term in the effing search box.

    The internet is free from censorship, and that means that the true nature of people's ideas on the world can come out. We need to keep it that way. It's the same as if the kid goes out and watches his friend take a hit off a bong, which he's likely going to see in his lifetime anyways!

    In fact, swiM feels that the internet actually makes drug use safer for them because they can just as easily look up what they are planning to do long before they ever try it. That must save thousands of lives every day! If they try to pass some sort of initiative to stop this, DON'T LET IT PASS!
  2. nuffsaid420

    Yes, this is a constant topic of SWIM. The realization that the internet can help people do their own research without the "drug war" machine scaring you. If SWIM has no context to put the drugs in then there is room for abuse, but if SWIM is at least knowledgeable about the drugs and can see and read other peoples experience, then SWIM can make a much better decision on whether to experiment.

    Also, SWIM was never given the correct "envionrment" settings for taking some drugs, and that can lead to less than desirable experiences. If SWIM knew before hand on how and where to experiment, SWIM would be in a much better position.
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