Facebook May Lead to Psychological Disorders in Teens

Contributing Writer
Updated

In a presentation entitled "Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids," Larry D. Rosen, PhD, a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, reported that teens who frequently use Facebook show narcissistic (self-love) tendencies. Even more, young adults who have a "strong Facebook presence" show signs of additional psychological disorders including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.

"While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives," he said.

Rosen's findings were presented during the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. In addition to the psychological disorders, his presentation revealed that Facebook can be distracting and can negatively impact learning. Studies have even shown that middle school, high school and college students achieved lower grades if they accessed Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period.

"Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems," reads a press release from the American Psychological Association.

But as the saying goes, there are two sides to every coin: Facebook use may have its negative side effects, but there are also positive aspects in using the popular social website. According to Rosen, young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing "virtual empathy" to their online friends. Social networking can even help introverted adolescents learn how to socialize without having to leave the screen.

For parents, he added that it's a waste of time trying to monitor their kids' social networking activities. In fact, communication is the "crux" of parenting: talk for one minute and listen for five.

"If you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child's social networking, you are wasting your time. Your child will find a workaround in a matter of minutes," he said. "You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it."