Drug culture may, in fact, lead more teenagers to drugs than was previously thought.
The culture behind drugs vary depending on the medium or source one searches about, but ultimately the facts remain the same.
Teenagers and young adults may be finding drugs more attractive overall, simply through the failure of their own understanding of drugs. This misunderstanding of drugs is compounded by everything seen on both the big screen and on their smaller portable screens.
A problem that arises when talking about “culture” is its many facets and nuances that it implies.
There are several different types of cultures throughout America, but some are severely more powerful than others. Popular culture, in fact, has become more of a guiding hand, leading the world to one singular culture. With the internet, smaller cultures are disappearing and being replaced with the far more broad “pop” culture of today.
Culture by its very definition means the way of life for a group or society.
In today’s times, cultures are much more radically defined to much wider groups. Groups that until recently, were for all intents and purposes completely segregated with the rest of the planet.
Today’s culture is more symbiotic with the hive mentality of the world, interconnected through the internet. Whether one agrees or not, this growing globalized world holds its own type of culture. When in just 5 to 8 years ago, culture was more strictly defined to its artificial borders, today the internet and all it encompasses is what is binding the world together. However, pop culture’s influence affects nearly everyone in both positive and negative ways. Most notably affected is our younger generation. Our teenagers.
Drug Culture and How to Talk to Teens
Our own personal beliefs to whatever extents we’re willing to hold onto will fade in comparison to the growing influence of the internet. While we can all go about the different ways to combat this problem, it’s an inevitability that will most likely conquer the moral landscape, and fighting against it will most likely result in adverse effects. This article is written to more understand and evolve with the rise of the internet, rather than push against it.
Semantics aside, the bigger problem to plague most of the conversations of anything related to trends and fads, which is mostly everything to do with culture, tend to almost always be exacerbated through misunderstanding.
In misunderstanding, we already risk the danger of estranging certain individuals. Estranging teenagers is however, a problem much easier to fall into. The fickle relationship between many parents and their younger loved ones is one made brittle by misunderstandings and ignorance.
A commonplace problem of misunderstandings starts with the parents.
Sometimes parents make the mistake of grouping together drugs with a vague and all too wide compassing of an angle. Drugs by their nature are mind altering, but being ignorant to its effects makes the situation worse by the trivialization of it. While some teenagers might not think this way, many self-validate the parents inexperience with drugs due to their lack of simple knowledge relating to it.
When people speak about drugs with a blanket statement, it tends to oversimplify and mischaracterize its effects. Teenagers, contrary to what many believe, aren’t as gullible and simple minded as countless people would like to believe.
In a scientific phenomenon known as the Flynn effect, studies have shown a rise in IQ test standards with every generation. While it’s a wide belief that the younger generation today may be the most undereducated, that belief is demonstrably false.
It may sound difficult to understand, much less to believe, but the generation today may be the most knowledgeable in all of human history. Some might be accurate in their belief about people today having a shorter attention span, but it doesn’t negate the rise in intelligence.
The reactions are similar to the ones expressed in the fact that violence is at its lowest since the start of humanity. In Steven Pinker’s landmark book, The Better Angels of our Nature, he explains in detail how and why violence has declined. Despite all the news articles and end of the world scenarios pushed every day by the media, Dr. Pinker’s facts remain uncontested. It’s a truth that many seem to have difficulty believing. Much like the Flynn effect.
How the Internet Can Help
With the birth of the internet and the rise of the information age, knowledge along with the learning to do anything has only risen.
The attitude many take when it comes to America’s younger generation as immature and unknowing, will only make the connection to them more difficult.
Learning about the effects of any and all drugs is simply the push of a button away from a mobile device.
An issue that arises with this coming of age is that now, whatever a parent says to their child regarding drug abuse or any kind of drug-related facts, can be easily looked up. This is compounded by the fact that it has become so readily available anywhere online.
With the addiction of social media driving and drilling a hive mind mentality, it will only expand the information’s grasp.
This is not to say that rapid and immediate information is a negative thing. Many would agree about the ultimate upside to all this knowledge being spread about the world. However, the danger comes from the spread of misinformation.
Misinformation online will always outnumber any kind of credible information.
Teenagers by their very nature are inexperienced and unknowing about the factors of life. In pursuit of their knowledge, they will almost undoubtedly find misinformation or half truths if left to their own devices.
As a parent, it is detrimental to know how to conduct research online and find credible and pertinent information. The lack of this skill will only leave you and the ones you love vulnerable to wrong information. Information that might cause you and others harm.
In learning how to conduct simple and quick research, it can prepare the parents for issues not yet reached. Knowing how to conduct research is a tool and a skill, one that once learned can be easily applied to most if not all issues. It becomes like riding a bicycle, in that once the technique is learned, the more difficult part is in unlearning it.
If at all possible, it’s important to also teach loved ones how to conduct research.
As for the forms, culture takes that will inevitably affect our loved ones, let’s start on the subject of the media.
Drugs in the Media
One needs to only look as far as a billboard to see the culture manifested in today’s media.
Culture itself might be interpreted differently by different people, but its more fundamental factors are mostly unencrypted for the world to see. A prime example of this in action would be the recent film The Wolf Of Wall Street.
The film follows a corrupted stockbroker and his climb to the financial top. He acquires all his money by selling fake assets for his clients, in turn, stealing directly from them. After a series of escapades he engages in, eventually, he is investigated by the SEC. After the breakdown of his crimes, the film begins to also portray the demise of the main character as his capture nears.
Some believe that the film was a prime example of why corruption and all together drugs are a negative impact and will eventually bring down anyone. However, what many fail to realize in this assumption, is that to glorify any figure, their demise doesn’t truly affect the way people view the person, it might even add to the romanticization of it.
Most films will want the audience to root for the main character. Be it in hating or loving the main character, the audience is going to respond all the same with a relative care for him or her. The main character, all though all his flaws and errors are clearly shown, it’s those very things that add to his appeal as a character.
When the main character of The Wolf of Wall Street finally has enough money to buy the houses and cars he wants, he then engages in extremely risky drug behaviors. From driving under the influence of various drugs and alcohol to the abuse of other workers and friends.
Throughout the film, he overindulges in drugs which exemplify the adventure he has created for himself. While the audience knows that he’ll eventually collapse, one can’t help but to see that character as a “good” guy.
A heavily implied subject throughout the film is the main characters romanticized life. His life is so romanticized, that many see the drug addict as a hero.
The real life character (in which the film was based on) has now written several books and conducts seminars year long. This man hasn’t apologized or even seen his actions as negative and the populace rewards his behavior, further condoning it. I don’t mean to imply most people, as I don’t think they are aware of the man’s history, but just pushing the narrative to the billions of people who viewed the film, is our culture in action.
It’s our culture conditioning the moral compass of the younger generation.
If the film debuted in Japan, a strict anti-drug culture, the reaction from the audience would be dramatically different. The film would have most likely failed due to the audience’s inability to care and see oneself in the main character.
This is the definition of culture.
Thinking As a Teenager
In almost every culture worldwide, there is an envy for the dramatic, there is a longing for things to fall apart. Thinking rationally, most people would most certainly think their way through such a debacle, but that’s the problem that rests with young adults and teenagers: their inability to do the same.
Young adults and teenagers are still in a haze of life where things aren’t as clear as they would be for someone older. Around this time is where they absorb the most in life, but also where bad habits and misinformation can cement itself into their identity.
There is no real stopping the exposure most teenagers get when it comes to drug culture, or really any culture we might not approve of. The task is in figuring out how best to explain to our younger loved one’s a clearer definition of what they are seeing.
Even when any kind of platform for any type of media is exposed to teenagers, it’s best to prepare for the moment when they’ll be left to their own devices. It’s in those times that we should best speak honestly and clearly to our loved ones about the natures of reality.
There are several different websites one can look through for help, but the best way to deal with the problem is in speaking honestly about the factors and tribulations of life. Teenagers and young adults seek companionship with others their age, and in doing so will change their view and attitudes to adjoin the collective. The parents responsibility stretches into that time.
One can’t control what decisions and actions our loved ones take, but we can curtail them by understanding their issues. Judgment is best reserved for whatever higher power one believes in, and should never be practiced by the adults.
If you believe a loved one might be afflicted make sure to contact us, and remember that there are many factors to consider. The world’s a stage for most teenagers and adults are like a secondary script, only to be pulled out in failure.