Can Facebook Cause Depression?
Does Facebook cause depression? Some doctors believe that it can, especially for teenagers. Over the past few years, Internet popularity (as in friend count) as well as interaction (do people comment on your status or not?) can make some kids feel inadequate if they can’t boast the same numbers. In short, it may be pretty bad to be unpopular in person, but if you can’t even get people to like your online persona, you may really begin to feel bad about yourself.
A couple of questions have to follow this new discovery of Facebook depression, which may be further exacerbated by the phenomenon of cyber-bullying which has taken the Web by storm in the last few years. Isn’t it illogical (even for teenagers) to expect to have a large network of active Facebook friends if they have a hard time finding real ones? Doesn’t it seem that promoting and spending a great deal of time on social networks can teach kids to care way too much about what other people think of them? To develop healthy self-esteem, teens have to realize not everyone will always like them and that shouldn’t stop them from being who they are.
The doctors are advocating parents get involved, but many may be too far out of their element to be effective. When one considers the fact that people type things online they often wouldn’t say in a face-to-face conversation, it’s easy to see how some kids could really get depressed.
Others argue the benefits of social networking far outweigh the risks and young people should continue to use it unimpeded by their parents. It seems the remedy to ‘Facebook depression’ would consist of positive reinforcement at home as well as some time developing hobbies away from the computer screen. What do you think?