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Bridging the Technology Gap: Study Confirms Teens Open to Discussing Drugs and Alcohol With Parents By Email, Cell Phones
Date:12/2/2008

- Some Parents Missing Opportunities to Connect -

- Only 1 in 4 Teens Report Parents Have Warned of Prescription Drug Abuse Dangers -

NEW YORK, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation shows that many parents who don't use e-mail or text messaging to communicate with their teens may be missing important opportunities to connect with their kids about drug and alcohol use. The national survey of more than 1,000 teens and 1,000 parents confirms that while a majority of teens would rather have a face-to-face conversation with their parents about alcohol or drugs, nearly one in four (23 percent) say they would prefer to have a "serious conversation" about this issue using e-mail or cell phone. However, just three percent of parents would opt to communicate with their kids this way.

"Parents who are waiting for the "right time" to talk with their kids about drugs and alcohol may be missing everyday opportunities to connect on this important issue, said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "While nothing can take the place of an in-person conversation between parents and teens, for some parents, emails, cell phone conversations, and even texting can help start a conversation with a reluctant teen and reinforce talks you've already had--plus, parents can reach teens at times when use tends to be likelier--after school, on weekends and during unsupervised time."

The survey underscores that "Generation Text" has arrived -- when asked which was more important for everyday communication with friends, texting or social networking; teens were far more likely to communicate directly by texting (63 percent) than to rely on websites like Facebook (38 percent) to stay connected. And teens don't only want to hear from their friends. A majority of teens -- 67 percent -- were open to receiving texts from their parents after school -- a time when teens are most likely to be unsupervised. For many parents, texting may be an additional tool for monitoring and staying in touch with teens.

"Some parents may still feel apprehensive about embracing technology as a way of communicating with their children," said Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "But, in today's world, it is vital that parents connect with their kids in any way possible. Our work with the Partnership allows us to highlight important health issues like adolescent alcohol and drug abuse and continue to empower parents to recognize the important influence they have in their children's lives."

For parents who are reluctant or don't know how to send text messages, the Partnership has created a downloadable guide called "Time To Text." The tool is free at TimeToTalk.org, and gives parents quick tips on how to text, suggests different messages to send to teens and provides a cheat sheet parents can keep in their wallet.

Disconnect Between Parents and Teens

Additional findings from the Partnership/MetLife Foundation survey revealed an ongoing disconnect about the discussions that are taking place between parents and teens about drugs and alcohol. Parents reported discussing virtually all forms of substance abuse "at length" with their teens, but alcohol is the only topic that 60 percent or more of teens reported their parents had covered in depth. In fact, just 26 percent of teens said their parents had talked to them about the abuse of prescription drugs to get high -- a troubling finding in light of the fact that 1 in 5 teens has reported engaging in this dangerous behavior.

The Partnership/MetLife Foundation study was conducted among 1,001 nationally representative parents of American teens and 1,009 nationally representative teens. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and has a margin of error +/- 3.1 percent.

For more information, visit www.drugfree.org


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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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