Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
As a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana or considering legislation to do so, pot’s public profile is on the rise–and so is its presence on Twitter and other social media sites. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has found that a number of those tweets are reaching young people each day, with hundreds of thousands of American youth getting pro-pot messages through their Twitter feeds multiple times a day.
The study, which was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, followed a Twitter account, Weed Tweets@stillblazintho, which has 1 million followers. Analyzing data over an 8-month period, during which time the group posted an average of 11 tweets a day, the study reported that 73 percent of the group’s followers were under age 19.
ScienceDaily has more:
“These are risky ages when young people often begin experimentation with drugs,” explained [principal investigator Patricia A.] Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “It’s an age when people are impressionable and when substance-use behaviors can transition into addiction. In other words, it’s a very risky time of life for people to be receiving messages like these.”
Cavazos-Rehg said it isn’t possible from this study to “connect the dots” between positive marijuana tweets and actual drug use, but she cites previous research linking substance use to messages from television and billboards. She suggested this also may apply to social media.
“Studies looking at media messages on traditional outlets like television, radio, billboards and magazines have shown that media messages can influence substance use and attitudes about substance use,” she said. “It’s likely a young person’s attitudes and behaviors may be influenced when he or she is receiving daily, ongoing messages of this sort.”
The researchers also learned that the Twitter account they tracked reached a high number of African-Americans and Hispanics compared with Caucasians. Almost 43 percent were African-American, and nearly 12 percent were Hispanic. In fact, among Hispanics, Weed Tweets ranked in the top 30 percent of all Twitter accounts followed.
“It was surprising to see that members of these minority groups were so much more likely than Caucasians to be receiving these messages,” Cavazos-Rehg said, adding that there is particular concern about African-Americans because their rates of marijuana abuse and dependence are about twice as high as the rate in Caucasians and Hispanics.
The findings point to the need for a discussion about the pro-drug messages young people receive, Cavazos-Rehg said.
Image: Tween holding a tablet, via Shutterstock
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Drugs, legalized marijuana, marijuana, pot, social media, substance abuse, tweets, Twitter | Categories:
Child Health, Parenting News, Safety, Trends
Monday, April 8th, 2013
People who post anti-vaccine messages on Twitter tend to lead to other negative tweets, while positive messages don’t spread support for vaccines in the same way, a new study published in the journal EPJ Data Science. NBC News has more:
The study analyzed more than 300,000 tweets that expressed an opinion about the H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009.
Twitter users who saw anti-vaccine posts in their Twitter feed tended to tweet anti-vaccine sentiments themselves, the results show. However, those who saw positive vaccine sentiments didn’t tweet positive sentiments themselves.
What’s more, positive tweets about vaccines sometimes had the opposite effect — a high number of pro-vaccine posts seemed to encourage people to tweet negatively about vaccines, said study researcher Marcel Salathé, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University.
“In other words, pro-vaccine messages seemed to backfire when enough of them were received,” Salathé said.
The reason for this phenomenon is not clear. But it’s possible that “many people had latent negative opinions about the vaccine, and when they were intensely exposed to enough positive messages, they felt the need to express their negative sentiment,” Salathé said.
Image: Mom on computer, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 22nd, 2013
In an apparent attempt to raise awareness and start conversations about what really happens during a Cesarean section, Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas took the unusual step of live-tweeting during an actual C-section procedure. More from CBS Houston:
The team began tweeting live at about 7 a.m. after promoting the online procedure for days. They even developed a Twitter “hashtag” of “#MHbaby” to gain followers and promote discussion about the procedure on Twitter.
During Wednesday’s procedure, the hospital gained hundreds of followers; it’s not clear how many people watched the surgery.
Memorial Hermann Hospital is no stranger to using Twitter as a vehicle to broadcast their medical procedures. The hospital live tweeted a brain surgery last year and said that they gained 7,000 followers and more than 230,000 people viewed that procedure.
Image: Doctor on mobile device, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Though nine out of ten teenagers use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and report it has more of a positive than negative role in their lives, Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, has found that many teens still prefer talking to interacting digitally – and many describe their relationships with social media as an “addiction.”
According to the report, teens’ favorite way to communicate with their friends is by talking in person (49%), with texting next (33%) and social media a distant third (7%). Teens who prefer talking face-to-face say it’s because it’s more fun (38%), and they can better understand what people mean (29%). The telephone, a mainstay of teenage life just a generation ago, is virtually dead: Only 4% of teens prefer to talk on the phone.
“Today’s 13- to 17-year-olds are the first generation to go through their entire teen years with such an array of digital devices and platforms,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media in a statement. “This report reads as a primer for parents to teens and tweens — to help them understand how their kids are engaging with technology and to highlight any impact it might be having on their social and emotional well-being.”
Image: Teen girl texting, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Rosie Pope, the maternity designer who is featured on the reality television program “Pregnant in Heels,” gave birth to a baby girl Sunday, her third child with husband Daron Pope. US Weekly reports that Pope live-tweeted during her labor:
“Contractions 3-5 mins apart,” Pope tweeted around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. “Just spoke to my boys, they are excited and got up to say good bye to mom this morning.”
“My water just broke!” Pope tweeted thirty minutes later. Eventually, husband Daron took over tweeting and wrote, “Daron here: let the pushing begin! After 1st vomit, she started pushing. She’s doing great.”
And eventually their little princess arrived!
“This is Daron: our beautiful princess is born!” he tweeted. “Baby and Rosie are doing great!!! What a miracle!”
Image: Rosie Pope, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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