Facebook Depression

Facebook Depression

The use of social media websites is one of the most common activities of adolescents and children today. Social media sites are websites that enable social interaction through the Internet and include social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook; blogs, video sites and gaming sites. These websites provide today’s young folks a venue for communication and entertainment and have become immensely popular in recent years.

For such reason, it is very crucial for parents to learn and understand the nature of these social media websites, because not all social media sites are healthy for children and teenagers. It is important to teach adolescents and children about the healthy use of social media sites and monitor potential problems that may arise from using these sites.

What is Facebook Depression?

The term ‘Facebook Depression’ was coined by the researchers of the Pediatrics as the type of depression that manifests when tweens and teens spend considerable time on social media like Facebook and start to show classic depression symptoms.  This is caused by seeing status updates and pictures of their peers having fun and comparing it to one’s life.

Although the term was originally coined for tweens and teens, Facebook Depression is a problem that many older adults (mostly from 20-40) also face.

Facebook Depression

Personal interaction and acceptance with peers is a crucial element in the life of an adolescent. The impact of the online world is believed to be the cause that triggers depression in a number of teenagers. Similar to the classic depression, adolescents and preadolescents suffering from Facebook depression are also vulnerable to social isolation, and in some cases, may turn to dangerous websites that may encourage unsafe sexual practices, self-destructive behavior, and substance abuse.

How does it Happen?

Depression is one of the most common mood disorders across the world, affecting about 16% of the population. This condition has a huge impact on the prevalence of cardiovascular disorders, and is heavily linked to an increasing rate of suicide.

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During the past years, a number of studies focus on the relation between technology and different behavioral disorders have been conducted. For instance, TV exposure is believed to have connection to antisocial and aggressive behavior, whereas sedentary lifestyle has been linked to depression in most adults. However, the connection between social networking and psychological disorders remains vague. Social networking services such as MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook have been created only in recent years but they have become enormously popular among adults and children. In fact, as of 2012, Facebook alone has already reached one billion users.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, social networks like Facebook play a huge impact on modern life and this includes change in interpersonal interaction and communication. Some experts expressed concern over the risk of using social media to the adolescents. Besides depression, some of the risks and issues of social media use include cyberbullying or online harassment, sexting, and privacy concerns.

The Role of the Parents

It is important parents know about their children’s Internet use and understand the underlying issues. It is of huge help if they understand primary issues by talking to their children regarding their Internet use. Parents are also advised to work on their participation by becoming educated about the technologies adolescents are using. Seeking professional help from a pediatrician is a good decision as they can guide you in developing strategies on how to deal with kids experiencing Facebook depression.

What to Do if You’re an Adult Facing Facebook Depression

 

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23260846
http://www.hdbp.org/psychiatria_danubina/pdf/dnb_vol24_no1/dnb_vol24_no1_90.pdf
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full.pdf
http://www.thefastertimes.com/grownupkids/2011/03/31/american-academy-of-pediatrics-report-claims-facebook-depression-is-a-new-and-legitimate-condition/
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/7/48/8994/Life-Style/Health/Warnings-linking-Facebook-use-and-teen-dpression.aspx

About the author

Sarah Gehrke