Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teen Internet Addiction: Facebook Depression or Obsession

Depression.  Obsession.  Addiction.

Are these three adjectives that surround social networking?

Social networking is on the rise, a recently released  study from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that 22 percent of teenagers log onto their favorite social media sites more than 10 times a day, and that 75 percent own cell phones. This level of engagement online increases the risks of cyberbullying, “Facebook depression” (a new phenomenon where “de-friending” and online bullying lead to symptoms of depression), exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting.

What can parents do if they suspect their teen or child is heading down a dark road?

Looking at Facebook to begin with, is your teen age appropriate?  You have to be at least 13 years-old to be a member. On Facebook's help center it clearly states:  Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. 

Facebook even takes it a step further with a report form to fill out if you suspect an underage member.
If your child is younger, it is wise to deactivate their account until they are of age or you feel they are ready for it.

It is important to help your child to understand, you are not attempting to block them 100% from social networking, however having boundaries is crucial.

These boundaries are what can help teenagers from going down the dark path of depression from over exposure of technology.  Teens literally go to bed with their cell phones so they don't miss a text!  This is ridiculous and parents need to start being parents.

Whether you have given the law of your home to your child or teen, or not, it is a serious and growing concern that parents need to be aware of.  Teenage depression is very serious.

A note to parents:  Be an example to your child.  How often are you online or plugged in?

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