“Another potential risk of social media has been dubbed ‘Facebook depression.’ When preteens and teens spend too much time on social media sites, they may begin to show classic signs of depression, such as changing sleep and eating habits, experiencing mood swings, hanging out with different friends or becoming socially isolated” says Dr. Gween of Pediatrics Now
It is no surprise to anyone that children and teens are spending more time than ever before on the internet using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Chatroulette. But just what are these outlets doing to the mental heath of our children? In the past year, there has been several cases in which teenagers have taken their own lives due to bullying and responses by members of these social networking websites.
What is “Facebook Depression”?
Facebook allows users to showcase their lives, from achievements to travel photos to parties. The depression creeps in when teenagers start comparing themselves to their friends. Why can’t my family go on a vacation like his? Why is my boyfriend in pictures with other girls? How come she got a new car for her Sweet Sixteen? Experts have agreed that social media sites exacerbate envy and jealousy due to the pressures of the “my life is an open book” appeal of social networking.
What can parents do?
Parents should be actively involved in their teen’s social life, both offline and online. Encourage your teen to get off the Internet once in awhile and do activities outside the house to avoid the temptation of returning to the computer. Get them to join clubs or encourage them to get into a sport or learn to play a musical instrument. It is important that your teen understand that there should be a balance in his or her life. It is important that parents keep an open line of communication with their teens, just as their teens enjoy a sense of openness with their friends.