Is your teen suffering from 'Facebook Depression?'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Don't be surprised if your pediatrician asks if your child is using Facebook. A new report links the social media giant with depression.
Doctors say social problems for teens are not only happening online, but for teens that are having a hard time adjusting, social media can quickly escalate problems with depression.
Daily interaction in small groups is the norm on many high school campuses, but for many teens and preteens, their social circles are online, exchanging messages and pictures through social media sites like Facebook.
University High student, Alexis Sing said, "Facebook is to socialize and find people and friends, I don't think it's anything negative."
But Facebook and other online communities can heighten negative feelings of some young users, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
University High Student, Cassandra Asanuma said, "I guess it can, if you get a lot of posts that are mean."
Mean posts or cyber bullying can add to feelings of depression, but doctors say so can seeing status updates, and lots of photos of happy looking people having fun.
Tamyra Pierce explained, "Feeling lonely, like they don't have friends or can't get items they see."
Fresno State Communications Professor Tamyra Pierce says Facebook doesn't cause depression, but things like a tally of friends can make matters worse for kids who are already dealing with self esteem issues.
Dr. Pierce said, "Just because someone has 200 friends on Facebook and you only have 20 doesn't mean they are more popular than you."
For most well adjusted teens social media sites can make them feel more socially connected. Some say happy images on Facebook are no different than anywhere else.
Cassandra Asanuma said, "Can't you see that everywhere in magazines or on TV?"
Dr. Pierce says parents should talk with teens or adolescents to make sure they have the tools to get through an awkward time in life.
"We have to teach kids to be proud," added Dr. Pierce. "Happy with who they are as they are, not how many friends they have."
Pierce cautions parents, depressed teens could begin looking for any type of attention online which includes posting inappropriate pictures and sexting.
facebook, health watch, deshaunta bullock
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