It is tough being a kid these days.  There is a lot of temptation out there.  A lot of bad messages out there, as well as plenty easily attainable bad influences.  So if you're a parent, brace yourself for some more bad news.

A new study has found that kids who regularly use social networking sites are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and use drugs - than those who stay away from such sites.

Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites allow users to post photos of their latest exploits, such as doing drugs or binge drinking.  The study found that when young people regularly see images of their peers doing these things, they are more likely to see that behavior as normal, and do it themselves.

But at what age do we just HAVE to let our kids be on Facebook?  Realistically, by the time they reach middle school, you can't stop them from it.  They are going to want to be doing what all their friends are doing.  A parent just needs to monitor all of this closely - but at a far enough distance that your kids can still be themselves.

70% of American kids between the ages of 12-18 say that they "log on" at least once a day.  These kids are proven to be five times more likely to smoke cigarettes - and three times more likely to drink alcohol, and experiment with drugs.

In this day and age - you should not discourage your kids from getting on the computer.  Just stay aware, and involved, in all of your child's activities and interests.  Know what they're up to.

For example, my 10 year old has a Facebook account that I visit every day.  It appears that he is now "in a relationship".

I guess that's just another lesson he's going to have to learn the hard way.