Facebook Depression: Parents Urged to be Aware

Although social networking can often be a wonderful thing and has many positive aspects, there’s no doubt that for some it can be a problem and we’ve told before how some people can become obsessed and how it can lead to eating problems. Now it seems a new term has been coined, ‘Facebook Depression,’ and it’s something that parents are being urged to be aware of.

Facebook Depression: Parents Urged to be Aware

The latest edition of Pedeatrics Journal refers to a study of teens using Facebook and it seems that sometimes the use of social media can add to the problems that many teens face today. Teenagers spending a lot of time on Facebook could be affected by ‘Facebook Depression’ according to researchers who found that for some teens, facing the constant barrage of updates from friends who present a “false reality” of themselves, results in them beginning to suffer from low self-esteem. It’s common knowledge that we all try to present the best of ourselves on social networking sites, and this can make some people feel inadequate.

Over on NYDaily News, Nina Mandell reports on the study and notes an Associated Press report where teenager Abby Abolt spoke about ‘Facebook Depression.’ Abolt said, “If you really didn’t have that many friends and weren’t really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples’ status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset. It’s like a big popularity contest – who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged.” Even as adults many of us must surely have noticed that friends on Facebook only present a certain side of themselves and sometimes don’t seem to be the same certain that we really know at all, but for teens still unsure of themselves we can understand how this could lead to anxiety.

What are your thoughts on ‘Facebook Depression?’ Do you think this is something we’re likely to recognise more as social networking becomes ever more popular or maybe you feel that depressed teens were likely to become depressed anyway and it is too easily blamed on Facebook? Let us know with your comments.

UPDATE
After we published this article we were contacted by Facebook who pointed out that the term ‘Facebook Depression’ failed to be substantiated. Of course Facebook consider the safety of its users to be paramount and detailed a report which in fact countered the claims of the original study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The later report entitled, “Pediatrics Gets it Wrong about ‘Facebook Depression’” by John M Grohal, PSYD, editor of PsychCentral, goes into detail about why the original findings were misguided and says that ‘Facebook Depression’ was an invented term. Regarding the citations in the original study Grohal stated that, “none could demonstrate a causative relationship between use of Facebook making a teenager or child feel more depressed. Zero.” Facebook also pointed us to a CNN report “Study: Facebook Helps Your Self Esteem” from Cornell University and additionally noted that the original AAP study in fact found many positives about the uses of new media in teenagers’s lives. We are happy to clarify these issues and are grateful to Facebook for letting us know the other side of this story.