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Facebook and Teen Depression


Facebook and teens
(Photo by: Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

A new concern has emerged involving teens and Facebook.  According to an article in The American Journal of Pediatrics, “Facebook depression” can now be added to the list of potential harms linked with social media. 

In the article,  an influential doctors’ group refers to a condition that may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.

Many Researchers disagree on whether it’s simply an extension of depression some kids feel from other circumstances or a specific condition linked with using the online site.

But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston pediatrician and lead author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.

Facebook and Teen Depression
(Photo by: Chris Lawrence/Getty Images News)

Research in the study of Facebook and teen depression says things like status updates and photos of happy people having a good time can make some kids feel even worse if they already think they don’t measure up in society.

Reading Facebook posts can be “more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down” according to Dr. O’Keeffe.  She says “Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on.”  “Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.”

Facebook guidelines have now been published in the American Journal of Pediatrics to urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about social media and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks.

(Sources: Chigaco-AP, American Journal of Pediatrics)

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