Study: Facebook use may lead to psychological problems

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Image: Tom Solari/

A new presentation to the American Psychological Association has said that social media’s effect on children, especially in human interaction, may lead to them developing a narcissistic personality, antisocial behaviour and aggressive tendencies.

The presentation, Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids by Larry D. Rosen from the California State University, was based on a number of surveys distributed to 1000 adolescents in urban centres and 15-minute observations of 300 teens in studying.

His report highlights that the daily overuse of media and technology can result in more anxiety, depression and being more susceptible to future health problems. Also, he has linked the use of Facebook can impact a child’s education, with college students checking Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period would achieve lower grades.

However, it’s not all bad news: his research also also showed that introverted adolescents can learn how to socialise and those who spend more time on Facebook tend to show more “virtual empathy” to their online friends – which is a stark contrast to narcissistic personalities. Rosen points that this can also teach kids how to empathise in reality.

And if you are a worried parent – there’s essentially no point of you trying to monitor your child, according to Rosen.

“If you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child’s social networking, you are wasting your time. Your child will find a workaround in a matter of minutes,” he said.

He points to discussion on social networking issues such as what to post and removing inappropriate content as a solution to parents’ fears.

“You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it,” according to Rosen.