Sex, Drugs... And Facebook? Moral Panic Police Blaming Social Networks For Kids Being Kids
from the correlation-vs.-causation dept
"The anything goes, free-for-all world of Internet expression and suggestive television programming that teens are exposed to on a daily basis puts them at increased risk of substance abuse," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia's founder and chairman, in a statement.It seems we have a classic conflation of correlation and causation. You could just as easily suggest that taking drugs, smoking and drinking lead teens to spend more time on Facebook. Or, more likely, it's a third factor. The general type of teen who is more likely to be active on a social network is also more likely to be active in the sort of social activities that teens are involved in -- which (despite some adults' denial) still includes drinking, smoking and taking drugs (sex too, I imagine). But pinning the blame on social networking is silly. I would bet that the same kids probably use text messaging more often. Would CASA also say that text messaging "puts kids at increased risk." Correlation is not causation and since the "National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse" is based at Columbia University, you'd think that someone there was familiar with this basic concept.
Oh, and... obligatory xkcd: