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The Risk of Facebook Depression in Teens and Tweens

December 31, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Boy on FacebookProviding children with Internet security does not only entail keeping them safe from obvious dangerous such as sexual predators and scams. It is also important to note that there are side effects of the Internet which children should be protected from as well. Sadly, some of the things that children may need to be protected from are self-inflicted. 

Facebook Depression

Facebook depression is a phenomenon that has sprung up as a result of Facebook and other social networks. Since Facebook is the most popular social network, it was the one on which the term is coined. A good explanation on why this is a worry comes from parenting.com,

Teen development is, in large part, about separating from parents and gaining peer acceptance, and social networking sites allow them to do both. But if online harassment or rejection occurs, such as “de-friending,” symptoms of depression may be the result.

Why Facebook Depression Exists 

Parents may be confused as to why Facebook depression exists in the first place. In their minds, they are thinking that Facebook depression could easily be solved by just ignoring what others on the social network are doing. However, that defeats the whole point of the network in the first place.

Facebook and other social networks are created for sharing and learning more about the people you already know. It is difficult to ignore if someone is harassing you or even if they simply seem to have a more fun life than you do. Since most of the posting on social media are pictures and statuses of positive and fun things, developing depression is quite common. 

What Can Be Done?

There are things that parents can do to mitigate the chances of their child developing Facebook depression.

  1. The first thing to do is limit the amount of time you allow your child to spend on the site. It may seem like a simple thing, but there are plenty of children who would love nothing more than to spend every waking hour on the site. 

  2. Teach your child to take what they see on social media with a grain of salt. Many people tend to only post positive, happy pictures or statuses on Facebook and conveniently exclude posting about negative or boring facets of their lives. What is seen on Facebook should not always be trusted as being reality.

  3. Help your teens and tweens develop proper self-esteem throughout these tricky teen years. Inform them that their self-worth should never be tied to the number of "likes" or comments they've received on a photo or post.

  4. Finally, if your child is showing signs of depression or mood swings contact their primary care doctor right away. This could be a sign of very serious problems to come. 

Related Article: 10 Signs Your Child Suffers From Facebook Depression: Kid Safety

                      Explore how uKnowKids can be used as Facebook training wheels                
Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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