New Woe for Teens: 'Facebook Depression'

Poor self-image plus Facebook's constant updates can spell trouble
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 9:07 AM CDT
New Woe for Teens: 'Facebook Depression'
Pediatricians are warning against "Facebook depression" in people with emotional problems using the popular social network.   (?Kreutziana)

They call it "Facebook depression," and whether it's a new phenomenon or a new twist on an old problem, researchers say it's a real and growing issue for teens. With its much-touted friends' tallies and constant photos and status updates highlighting all the great times everyone else is having, Facebook can be extra tough for those with self-esteem problems. "A lot of what's happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far," said the lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' new guidelines for social media, which were published today.

It can be more agonizing than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other situations that trouble kids, she tells the AP, because Facebook dishes 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. The new guidelines recommend that parents talk to their teens about "Facebook depression." But other experts caution against overreacting. Facebook can enhance feelings of connectedness or loneliness, but parents shouldn't think it "is going to somehow infect their kids with depression," said one researcher. (More Facebook stories.)

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