Is Facebook having a negative effect on your child?
Friends can easily be cited as the biggest influences in our lives. During teenage years friends are everything and can shape our attitude towards ourselves and our lives. Dr. Adeigbola believes that good or bad friends can simply make or break us. Parental control on the friends of teenagers are extremely important. But with the easy access to internet and influx of social networking sites in our lives, the lines of parental control are blurred while the teenager sink hours into social networking sites such as Facebook clicking from profile to profile, looking at someone else’s pictures and commenting on their activities.
The question arises if Facebook is doing more harm than good for your child? Ever since 2004 it has become the glorified means of social interaction as well as a time waster for some. If Facebook gives them the opportunity of putting their best self forward and also lets them see only what they want others to know and see, and allows them to define who they are and live vicariously through others? In the opinion of social psychologists people like to believe that they can see themselves through the eyes of others and hence find Facebook intriguing because it offers just that. This becomes problematic because people start mould their thought process and behavior as if they are in front of an audience and become used to behaving in front of a crowd.
Facebook has become a means of gauging your lives and relationships through the opinions of others which becomes very dangerous. In fact to quote an example, girls have been found to be crestfallen if the number of “happy birthday” wishes on their Facebook wall is fewer than what would make them important. This emotional side effect of Facebook may have an adverse effect on people. This may even generate anxiety about their relationships and activities.
The constant need to seek approval from your peers has negative impact on your psyche. According to many psychiatrists an excessive use of Facebook can be unhealthy and has been linked to depression. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics has coined a new term known as “Facebook depression” which occurs in children and teenagers spending too much time on social networking sites. The phenomenon of Facebook depression is not very common because it also has some positive advantages such as helping children in maintaining ties with their friends. It is especially helpful to children and teenagers whose parents have a transferrable job or are continuously on the go. According to adolescent psychiatrists, depression and loneliness are associated with those who use Facebook heavily and who let the amount of time they spend online interfere with their offline connections.
An overuse of Facebook along with other cybercrimes such as cyberbullying and sexting may lead
to severe psychological consequences and according to Dr. Parinda Parikh, a renowned psychiatrist at Second Arc Life Centre it is critical for the parents to stay involved in their children’s lives. It is important for the parents to maintain open lines of communication with their teenage children and have an idea of what is going on in their lives not only online but offline as well.
Experts at Second Arc Life Centre believe that relationships with friends is critical in adolescent years and the over interaction with friends through Facebook may lead to envy as well. Facebook sets up a competitive set up where kids may feel less than other friends because they perceive their friends to have a better life than them or to be more popular. This gives rise to feelings of envy and jealousy through this medium.
One advice to parents is to prevent children from entering Facebook depression is by ensuring their engagement in different forms of activities. Kids with balanced life, school work, involvement in after school activities and a part of teams or clubs as well as their engagement in community service. At Second Arc Life Centre we offer various activities to children and teenagers through different outpatient and partial programs.
At last, parental guidance and community programs can easily help the children in building a successful future and beautiful life surrounded with the warmth and friendship of friends and