By Alyssa Byers –
Facebook’s not just for friends anymore.
It’s got a hidden agenda and you could fall prey. An article released by the American Academy of Pediatrics recently named a condition it called “Facebook Depression.” The group said that social networking sites, such as Facebook, can cause kids to become more susceptible to depression. Researchers still disagree if this is a real condition, or if social networking sites just contribute to an already depressed person.
“I don’t use Facebook and I think it saves me a lot of stress,” said Hannah Willet.
It’s not a surprise that Facebook can make people feel down in the dumps, especially with status updates that can hurt kids’ feelings and destroy self confidence. Many teens post exactly how they feel, even if it can single people out. In addition, social networking sites allow for students to be intimidating without even trying, due to the lack of in-person confrontation.
“Everyone instantly runs to Facebook to put angry statuses about their life and then everyone sees it and comments are made that can make people feel bad,” said Devin Yecker.
Photos are popular on social networking sites, but if you find out you weren’t invited to last Friday’s party, this feature can leave you feeling a little left out.
Yecker said she can remember hanging out with her friends and seeing on Facebook that they had an event invitation that she didn’t. It didn’t leave her feeling too good.
The site also allows kids to become isolated. Some teens spend hours in front on the computer checking their account and viewing others’ profiles. Instead of hanging out with friends, they turn to messaging them on Facebook. Interaction among peers becomes a thing of the past, and kids no longer take part in much needed face-to-face communication.
AP Psychology teacher Maria Vita said she can see where researchers are coming from when they say social networking sites can cause depression. The self serving bias is a term used to describe how people blame others when something goes wrong, and credit themselves when something goes right. People who are depressed, according to Vita, don’t have a self-serving bias. If someone posted a mean status about them, they’d assume they did something to deserve it.
Some researchers say pediatricians should ask about the amount of time their patients spend on the internet and how it makes them feel, during regular check-ups.
If you’re worried Facebook is affecting you, doctors may suggest spending less time on the site.