Social media can lead to 'Facebook depression'
Published Monday, March 28, 2011 4:22PM EDT
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning Monday about children and social media sites. In fact, they have coined a new term: "Facebook depression."
The study suggests kids can be stressed out and depressed because of the way they use the site.
"For some teens and tweens, social media is the primary way they interact socially, rather than at the mall or a friend's house," said Gwenn O'Keeffe, co-author of the clinical report.
"A large part of this generation's social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cellphones. Parents need to understand these technologies so they can relate to their children's online world – and comfortably parent in that world."
The report summary says it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents.
Pediatricians are in a unique position to help families understand these sites and to encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, ‘Facebook depression', sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.
According to a recent poll, 22 per cent of teenagers log on to their favourite social media site more than 10 times a day; and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day.
"Facebook depression," is defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.
Parents should make sure they educate themselves on what their children are doing, and how social networking sites work and take an active role and talk to their children about things such as bullying, privacy and proper use of the web.