Facebook Depression

The Breakfast Club is one of those timeless movies. A bunch of high school kids who have nothing in common but having to do Saturday morning detention manage to bond, if only for one morning, when they find out that their lives are not as different as they think. Anyone who remembers high school can identify with one of the characters in this movie and maybe that is part of why this movie can touch parents and their teens.

Speaking of teenagers, the big news today is that researchers have discovered a link between teen depression and Facebook. Teens prone to depression who use Facebook can see a worsening in their depression because the social networking site can make a depressed teen feel socially unacceptable.

First of all, maybe some of this has some truth. If you are unhappy with your life and you believe some of the posts that you see on Facebook, you could feel down about yourself. Teens are certainly more vulnerable to wanting to feel like they fit in then most adults are and believing what you read on Facebook can depress someone.

Personally I feel that if you have the time to update your status on a regular basis to share how wonderful your life, boyfriend/girlfriend, job, vacation is, I would bet it probably isn't as great as you are bragging it is.

Just my opinion mind you, but if you are so deliriously enjoying your life, who has time to update their Facebook status?

Maybe to a teen, comparing how many Facebook friends you have compared to someone else does feel like you are not as popular as you would like. C'mon now, how many of us regularly communicate with ALL of our Facebook "friends"?

As a parent, I held firm in not allowing my teen to have a Facebook page for a long time. Actually, when she started bugging me for a social network profile, it was MySpace that she wanted to have. At the time, I said no. I felt there was no need for it. She snuck behind my back and had a friend set up a profile. As soon as I found out, the account was deleted.

We had a long discussion about social networks and when I felt she was mature enough, I said yes to her having an account. The funny part is that she is my Facebook friend.

I am the kind of parent that talks to my kids. We have discussed sexting and how what you say on Facebook can come back to haunt you. My rule with my teenager is that if I cannot get into her computer, she loses the priviledge of having it.

I trust her. I just feel that it is a safety issue. She knows better than to hook up with someone she meets online because we talk about the dangers.

When she makes a comment about someone who routinely posts how wonderful their romance is and shares way too much information, she is bothered by it. Although my daughter does not always behave in ways I am proud of, she knows right from wrong and Internet safety is something we have talked about a lot.

Teens today do have so much more pressure than teens a decade ago did. Bullying behavior is now easier with the misuse of social networking and texting.

The truth is that some teens are just so angry today. They are looking for an outlet for their anger and my theory is that is what is behind the apparent rise in bullying.

All of us grew up knowing a bully, being bullied or witnessing some form of bullying. Today because of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the ugliness can spread so much faster and cut deeper into a teen's self-esteem.

Parents need to try and put themselves in their teen's shoes. Imagine what their world is like. A parent who is aware of what it is really like to be a teen in 2011 can help to better understand the dangers that face their teen. Talking openly is the best way to know your teen's risks for being affected by feeling left out of the social circle they may want to be a part of.

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