Facebook depression in teens and tweens

Parents should be tuned into what their teens and tweens are doing on the internet social networking sites because of the sexting, cyber bullying and Facebook’s so-called depression, says leading pediatricians.

Some of the key benefits and social networking risks were outlined in a new report published in Pediatrics stressing the need for parents to talk with their kids with regard to specific risks but to also participate with their children in the various sites like Twitter and MySpace rather than leave the monitoring to someone else or to a software program.

The lure of social media is difficult for some young people and can interfere with physical activity, sleep and homework says a Wayland, Mass based pediatrician Gwenn Schurgin O’Keefe.

She is used to these problems, at one time she had to instant message her daughter to summon her to dinner after repeated attempts of calling failed to take her attention away from her chat session. Being so absorbed in her session it was as if she had become fused with the computer, says O’Keefe.

Australian researchers have released a report that surveyed more than 1,000 students of middle school aged and their parents and teachers with regard to online habits finding that social networking sites were used by 95% of them and Facebook was the most popular. Over 25% considered the sites safe and about half said networking online did have some element of risk.

The scary part is that almost 50% of the students said they had not talked with parents about their social networking use and almost 75% said that they had not spoken to a teacher either about it. But, 4 out of 5 parents said they had seen, at least once, their children’s profile page on one of the networking sites.

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