Facebook is a clever idea. Valued in the billions, it is like high school on steroids. It is a marketer’s dream. It is a portfolio for popularity. It is a cool kid’s clever assistant and, worst of all, it is a frumpy nerd’s worst nightmare.
At the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Larry Rosen discussed that he feels Facebook has many worrisome effects on teenagers.
He pointed out that teens who use Facebook show more narcissistic tendencies and other psychological disorders such as antisocial behavior, mania, and aggressive tendencies.
Daily use of technology was said to promote anxiety, depression, and make children more susceptible to future health problems.
Dr. Rosen believes that Facebook can be distracting and can negatively impact learning and pointed out that studies show middle and high school students, who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period, achieved lower grades.
Dr. Rosen did point out some positives of Facebook, however. Young adults were said to show “virtual empathy” toward others. Whether this empathy is real or just words on screen is yet to be decided.
He found that online social networking can help introverted adolescents learn how to socialize behind the safety of various screens, as well. There is much contradiction between the scary social media effects and the positive ones.
Some Advice for Facebook Users
- Guard your privacy because what people know about you is up to you.
- Protect your reputation. What may be funny and trendy today could cause you trouble tomorrow.
- Assume everyone is watching. Nothing is private online so anything you say or do can be projected to millions. Remember, if someone is your friend’s friend, they can read and see everything.
- Remember the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to another.
- Don’t hide behind anonymity. You will get more respect being trustworthy and responsible.
- Be smart and safe and choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate and not everyone is who they say they are.
- Just because it is said does not make it so. Everything written is not true. Don’t buy into the hype.
The Good of Facebook
- Children who spend more time on Facebook learn to show “virtual empathy” to others.
- Introverted teens can learn to socialize with Facebook use.
- Facebook users are more likely to overlook race when making friends online.
- Facebook can actually raise some kids’ self-esteem.
The Bad of Facebook
- Facebook can lead to narcissism.
- Facebook can cause some to have low self-esteem and other psychological disorders.
- Facebook doesn’t prepare children for real-life conversations.
- Social networking can interfere with learning and be distractive.