Are Smartphones the New High?

teen girls using smart phonesSmart phones have sometimes gotten a bad rap. Many adults blame the shiny, sleek gadgets for turning their teens into zombies as “Snapping” and “Instagramming” have absorbed their everyday lives – in class, at the dinner table, anywhere with an outlet and Wi-Fi.

While that may be kind of bad, could there also be a good side to constant smart phone use? Some experts think maybe. 

An annual survey that looks at the alcohol and drug use of 8th, 10th and 12th graders (called Monitoring the Future) found that, in general, illicit drug use other than marijuana among these grades went down in the past year. There were also declines in 2014 and 2015. When you add marijuana in the equation, its use went down amongst 8th and 10th graders and stayed about the same amongst 12th graders, according to the survey. 

These numbers have left experts wondering: Are teens too distracted by their phones to use drugs?

“Playing video games, using social media, that fulfills the necessity of sensation seeking, their need to seek novel activity,” Dr. Silvia Martins, a substance abuse expert told The New York Times.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse told the paper, “Teens can literally get high when playing” games on interactive media. She plans to research the topic more within the upcoming months.

And an 18-year-old interviewed by the Times, admitted that she sometimes uses her phone to make herself look busy if she’s offered drugs at a party.

Read more at the New York Times.