Media Campaign Fact Sheets
Teens & Technology Fact Sheet
Young people are seeking or getting drug information online, and the content
they find is often detailed and dangerous.
- Fifty five percent of Internet users say they have
received an unsolicited email advertising a prescription drug and 40 percent
say they've received an unsolicited email advertising an over-the-counter drug
- In September 2005, a DEA investigation
resulted in the arrest of 18 people, operating more than 4,600 rogue Internet
pharmacy Web sites.2
- A search on MySpace.com, a social networking site
used by millions of people and popular among teens, turns up tens of thousands of people talking about
- Twenty-two percent of Internet-using teens say they
have looked for information online about a topic that's hard to talk about,
like drug use, sexual health or depression.4
- Pro-drug Web sites commonly include descriptions of the preparation, dose,
administration and psychoactive effects of drugs, as well as recommendations for
managing the adverse effects of illicit drugs.5
- One popular online pro-drug encyclopedia, Erowid, contains 20,000 documents
that provide enormous detail on drug use, including dosage, modes of
administration and intended effects. It receives 250,000 daily page visits and 6
million annual unique visitors seeking information on more than 200 psychoactive
- A study found that the Internet leads adolescent drug users to try new drugs
and drug combinations; take steps to minimize the harmful effects of drugs; and
modify the use of preferred drugs.7
Teens frequently go online alone, unsupervised, and often engage in risky
- Nearly one-third (29%) of students surveyed said their parent or guardian
would disapprove if they knew what they were doing on the Internet.8
- Sixty-four percent of online teens say that most teens do things online that
they wouldn't want their parents to know about.9
- One-third (33%) of 13-17 year olds and nearly half (48%) of 16-17 year olds
report that their parents or guardians know "very little" or "nothing" about
what they do on the Internet.10
Many parents are not monitoring or supervising their teens' digital
- Just under half (42%) of parents do not review the content of what their
teenager(s) read and/or type in chat rooms or via instant messaging.11
- Thirty percent of parents allow their teenagers to use the computer in
private areas of the house, such as a bedroom or home office.12
- More than one in five (22%) 13-17 year olds said their parents or guardians
have never discussed Internet safety with them.13
- A majority of parents (65%) feel they could do a better job supervising their
children's media use.14
Nearly all teens are using technology all the time, everywhere.
- Close to nine in ten teens, or 87 percent of youth
ages 12 to 17, are
Internet users, and half of these teens go online daily.15
- Approximately 19 million teens instant message.16 Sixty percent of teens have their own cell
- One-third (33%) of teens have used a cell phone to send a text message. One
in four cell phone-owning teens has used their phone to connect to the
- Thirteen percent of young people report having a handheld device that
connects to the Internet.19
1 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Prescription Drugs Online,
October 10, 2004.
2 Drug Enforcement
Agency press release, "Operation CYBERx Dismantles
Nationwide Internet Pharmacy Scheme," September 21, 2005.
3 ABC News, What Are Teens Hiding on MySpace, May 18, 2006
4 Pew Internet & American Life Project: Teens and Parents Survey,
October-November 2004 survey.
5 Boyer, E, Shannon, M, Hibberd, PL. (2001) Web sites with misinformation
about illicit drugs. New England Journal of Medicine, 345: 469-471.
6 Boyer, EW, Shannon, M,
Hibberd PL. (2005) The Internet and psychoactive substance use among innovative drug users, Pediatrics, 15: 302-305.
7 Boyer, EW, Shannon, M, Hibberd PL. (2005) The Internet and psychoactive
substance use among innovative drug users, Pediatrics, 15: 302-305.
8 i-SAFE America Survey,2003-05.Online athttp://www.isafe.org/channels/sub.php?ch=op&sub_id=media_digital_divide