In this digital age, your teen has more access to information than ever before. With the rapid advancement of technology, it can be difficult as a parent to keep tabs on everything your teen is exposed to online. However, it is becoming increasingly important to tune in to what websites your teen is accessing, as the Internet plays a prominent role in influencing teens to engage in risky behaviors like experimenting with and abusing cough medicine.
There are several websites and online communities that promote cough medicine abuse and go as far as providing in-depth instructions for teens telling them how to consume enough to get high. In addition to these websites, some social networking sites provide forums and further opportunities for teens to discuss this type of substance abuse.
Parents, here are three steps you can take to address and combat these online influences:
- Look Closer. It’s important to familiarize yourself with websites that are promoting cough medicine abuse so you can gain a better understanding of what information your teen can access. Conduct a general online search using terms such as “DXM”, “robotripping” and other slang terms used when referring to cough medicine abuse (a full list of slang terms can be found here). Be sure to search these terms on social networking sites as well.
- Be Aware. Teens may use the Internet to procure cough medicine and other drugs illegally, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any unexpected packages that have been ordered from the Internet. Check out payments your teen makes by credit card or PayPal, which are both commonly used for these types of transactions. Lastly, pay attention to how much time your teen spends surfing the web and their most frequented sites, which may contain content or language promoting cough medicine abuse.
- Get Informed. Visit WhatIsDXM.com with your teen and watch the site’s videos to get more information on the risks of DXM abuse. Then, talk to your teen about what they have seen to ensure you are both on the same page.
The Internet is here to stay, but the suggestions above should help you stay in the know about both dangerous online influences and your own teen’s digital habits. For more advice, I encourage you to visit stopmedicineabuse.org to get additional details about cough medicine abuse and tips on how to start the conversation about its risks with your teen.
Contributor: Peggy McKibbin is a mother of two and school nurse involved in the National Association for School Nurses and a contributor to the Five Moms blog. The Five Moms’ mission is to spread awareness about teen cough medicine abuse by openly talking about the challenges parents of teens face and offering from-the-heart advice on how everyone can work to prevent OTC cough medicine abuse in homes and communities. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.