Every parent or guardian should know that drug dealers use social media to target minors. Today’s youth spends an enormous amount of time online, most of which is spent on social media. Parents may be unaware of what their children are doing online, which is a perfect opportunity for online drug dealing.
Some of the most popular apps are used to target children, and these include:
Types of Drug Sold
Drug dealers push all types of drugs online. While these drugs can be dangerous, the disturbing trend of lacing street drugs with fentanyl makes buying drugs online potentially fatal.
Drugs available for purchase online include:
5 Points for Parents
Below we have highlighted five key points that parents should be familiar with to better prepare them to be on the lookout for online drug dealing:
Set Clear Expectations of Privacy
It is natural for kids to become increasingly private as they age. While this is normal, many aspects of online activity pose dangers. Here are some tips for managing your child’s expectation of privacy and ways to monitor their activity.
- Parents should make it clear that they will monitor all online activity, whether with a tablet, home computer, smart TV, or smartphone.
- Take advantage of tools that manage and monitor screen time. The software available for this has come a long way and effectively oversees what kids view online.
- Require of your children to give you their passwords or create their social media profiles with them so you are aware of how they are presenting themselves online.
- Screen social media accounts and look for unusual profiles that may use drug emojis or certain terms in their bios.
Learn the Drug Emoji Code
Emojis are used to communicate in code with minors. The emoji drug code published by the DEA gives parents and kids an idea of what these codes look like. The more educated parents become, the better equipped they are to spot illegal activity online.
Understand the Dark Web
The dark web is real, and anyone can access it; illicit drugs are easily found there, among other things.
Parents should be aware of the following:
- Devices or computers that have TOR software (The Onion Router), which is the main browser to access the dark web.
- Crypto currency is the common payment method.
- Pay attention to what is arriving in the mail, such as strange packages or deliveries they are trying to hide.
Overdoses Are Possible Anytime
When young people are ordering drugs on the internet, there is a significant risk of a drug overdose. There may be no warning signs for parents or early signs of addiction before an overdose. All it takes is a substance laced with fentanyl to cause a fatal overdose. A person buying drugs online will not know what is in these substances.
Look for Early Warning Signs
Despite the secrecy of online drug dealing, there are still early warning signs of drug use, which parents can look out for and intervene when necessary. Some of the early warning signs include:
Your kids become overly protective of their space or things, such as their bedrooms & backpacks.
Interpersonal relationships may drastically change with regard to whom they are hanging out with.
You observe your teen becoming more isolated and keeping to themselves.
Your child loses interest in activities, such as sports or after-school programs.
You notice grades starting to slip or your child is no longer trying at school.
Short-term memory or episodes of absent mindedness.