The reason you kid is sad, possibly even depressed, when visiting Facebook goes something like this: Viewing images of smiling, happy friends makes her feel like Sara’s life is so much more exciting.
And when he reads the status updates from Frank, the school’s star fullback, he judges that life is unfair.
But rather than log-off and call upon a real friend to offer some authentic perspective, they continue to click on page, after blissful page.
~According to Corbett, around 10% (or 40 million) of Facebook users are teenage school children.
~75% of American teens reported they have a Facebook page, while 27% are “super users” who check the social media platform continuously throughout the day.
~A recent study by Utah Valley University found that the more time young people spent online, the worse they judged the accuracy of others’ level of happiness. Sadly, the long-term users believe “Many of my friends have a better life than me,” and “Life is unfair.”
The problem is your teen lacks life experience and the frame of reference to know that when others expend so much emotional energy (+ Photoshop) telling you how happy, successful, and awesome their life is, the truth likely means they’re not livin’ so large.
Yes, social media platforms like Facebook can be wonderful for connecting and socializing online, as psychotherapist Uriah Guilford points out in this Facebook article about the cool kids. And connect they will…But what about the less socially adept kids who eat lunch in the library and never make the cut for the basketball team?
Does Facebook shame continue after sixth-period? What about weekends?
As a psychotherapist who counsels teens, I assure you that if your high-school aged kid is in my office, we’re likely talking about Facebook at some point. Sadly, the themes often revolve around exclusion, gossip, and stalking.
Talking to your teen about the dangers of anonymous online communication, and educating about cyber bullying, while limiting his time online are parental imperatives. Unfortunately, encouraging face-to-face contact, including the ever-important tool of reading body language to improve social skills and emotional intelligence plays second fiddle to the ‘like’ button.
Or as my 10 year-old chimed in about my (compulsive) habit of viewing Facebook status updates, “I don’t get Facebook…why don’t people just call each other?”
Hmm…probably because our friends don’t like us enough to bother, I thought.
And any young person can tell you that removing the “k” spells Lie.
Is 13 years-old too young to have a Facebook page?
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Have a wonderful week,