Facebook has become a norm among the current generation but is not a necessity though. Many people use Facebook to keep in touch with friends from their hometowns while away at college but do not realize the negative effects it has especially to teenagers. Facebook has gone from being a social networking website to an addiction to teenagers. Facebook is affecting various different aspects of people’s everyday lives. Students are less productive because Facebook acts as a distraction; Facebook causes lots of unnecessary drama in relationships (friends, family, and boyfriends/girlfriends), and has become an unhealthy addiction to many people.
Overdosing on Facebook may lead to the development of such psychological disorders in teens, according to a recent study conducted by Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University.
In a presentation titled “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids” at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Rosen presented his findings based on a number of computer-based surveys distributed to 1,000 urban adolescents and his 15-minute observations of 300 teens in the act of studying.
Some of the negative side effects of Facebook use for teens that Rosen cited includes:
- Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies.
- Teens who are persistently logged on to Facebook are more often to show psychological disorders, like mania, paranoia, aggressive tendencies , antisocial behavior and increased alcohol use.
- Increased absence from school and likelihood of developing stomach aches, sleeping problems, anxiety and depression, in teens who “overdose” in technology on a daily basis, including Facebook and video games.
- Lower grades for middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period; the more time a student spends on Facebook, the less time they spend studying.
- Teens who most frequently had Facebook open on their computers during the 15-minute study period had the lowest retention of what they read.
- Increased aggression and traits associated with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression (various mental issues).
Psychologists see good and bad in social networks. On the bad side, possible links to psychiatric disorders; on the good side, increased “virtual empathy” where teens learn to interact online then they even apply it to everyday life. Generally, we think of empathy as an in-person activity, where hugs, facial expressions and kind words help improve a loved one’s mood. Social networks can teach teens empathy, or the ability to understand someone else’s feelings from a distance.