Well here we are in 2010. Wow, how exciting is that! Now, my readers need to understand that I am of the age when telephones were still rotary, there was no internet, no blackberries, facebook, or twittering. While these things are very exciting, they also come with concerns.

Young people are living in a world that is smaller and literally filled with instant responses. There certainly are great benefits to this, but there are also some serious risks. For example, we may be raising young people who don't develop the ability to delay immediate gratification. Does this mean that if they are in a depressed mood or a bit anxious they don't possess the ability to tolerate it and instead turn to a drink or a drug? Does this mean that when they need correct information they turn to misinformed websites for answers?

Perhaps there is a simple solution. Let's encourage teens and young adults to turn to appropriate experts and valid sources of data on the internet - especially when it comes to substance abuse. They need to understand that there is dangerous information online that can mask the truth out of ignorance or for self-serving reasons.

Social media and the internet can be powerful tools for raising awareness, educating and communicating. But we must make sure that our youth are dealing with accurate information. Parents must continue to learn about all the great websites that provide accurate information in engaging ways that can help our wonderful children to grow.

Here are a few I'd recommend getting acquainted with:

Partnership For a Drug Free America
http://www.drugfree.org/

National Institute on Drug Abuse
http://www.nida.nih.gov/

Office of National Drug Control Policy
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/

Caron Signs & Symptoms Page
http://www.caron.org/signs-symptoms/

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