Social networking teens ‘more likely to become addicted to drink, drugs’


Teenagers that use internet social networking sites like Facebook are more likely to end up addicted to drink and drugs, according to researchers. Scientists at the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse (Casa) at Columbia University, surveyed more than 1,000 children aged between 12 and 17 via an online poll and another 1,000 by telephone. They found those who spent any time on social networks each day were five times as likely to smoke than those who didn’t visit them. They were also three times more likely to drink alcohol and had double the chance of smoking cannabis. The nationally-representative survey suggested peer pressure was playing a large role, with 40 percent of all teenagers seeing pictures of friends getting drunk on sites like Facebook and MySpace. Half of the youngsters who said they had seen pictures of people being drunk, passed out, or using drugs first saw such images when they were just 13 or even younger. Those who saw these images were more than twice as likely to be able to get alcohol in less than a day and much likelier to have friends and classmates who abuse illegal and prescription drugs. One of the researchers remarked: “The time has come for those who operate and profit from social networking sites like Facebook to deploy their technological expertise to curb such images and to deny use of their sites to children and teens who post pictures of themselves and their friends drunk, passed out or using drugs.”

Cape Town ‘ready’ for 007 film if India troubles persist


South Africa’s Cape Town on Monday said it is ready to host British spy James Bond in his latest installment of martini swilling and villain chasing, after reports of filming troubles in India. “Cape Town welcomes James Bond whenever he decides to visit us,” said Cape Film Commission chief executive Denis Lillie. The city said it had noted media reports of difficulties facing producers in the 23rd Bond movie, with producers said to have put forward Cape Town as an alternative. “This demonstrates how a film project can very quickly go ‘off the rails’ if the coordination between city and government departments are not in place,” said Lillie. “Cape Town would not be happy to benefit from someone else’s loss,” he said, but added that the city’s film-friendliness and bureaucratic coordination had been demonstrated during the 2010 football World Cup and its hosting of big films. The scenic city is a popular location, drawing stars like Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, and has also been named for a local franchise of the popular American and British television show ‘Law & Order’. “Our city has all the facilities required for a shoot of this magnitude,” said councillor Grant Pascoe, a mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing. Media last week reported problems over filming permissions for railway scene stunts in India for the latest 007 leg, which is set for release next year.