Advances in technology enhance our lives in healthy, positive ways. These days, shopping, education, communication and entertainment are only a few clicks away. Social networking in particular enriches our lives by helping us to connect and share with colleagues, clients, family and friends in ways that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Spending too much time on these sites, however, can have negative impacts, especially in the lives of teens.
According to the American Psychological Association, too much Facebook time can negatively impact teens' mental health. Excessive use of Facebook has been associated with greater narcissism in teens, as well as other psychological disorders such as such as mania. In addition, too much time spent on Facebook can cause anxiety and depression in teens. Excessive Facebook time can also increase a teen's likelihood of experiencing cyberbullying, which can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. Statistical research conducted by "Consumer Reports" shows that in 2011, 1 million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook.
Too much time spent on Facebook -- as well as watching TV and playing video games -- is associated with obesity in teens. This is because, according to Kids Health, too much screen time, including time spent on Facebook, infringes upon time spent doing other activities such as outdoor play and sports, which are essential for a healthy body. Physical activity is vital to children's and young adults’ physical development, and when teens don’t get enough exercise, the result is often unhealthy weight gain.
Poor academic performance is another problem associated with too much Facebook time, according to the American Psychological Association. A recent study referenced by the association showed that students in all grade levels who checked their Facebook accounts at least once during a 15-minute study period exhibited lower academic grades than those who did not check their Facebook accounts over the same period of time. Researchers believe this is due to distractions caused by constant Facebook use.
Overall teenage behavior is also negatively impacted by too much time spent on Facebook. According to Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at California State University, too much Facebook time is associated with antisocial and aggressive behavior in teens. In addition, teens who overuse Facebook on a daily basis are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drug use, drinking and promiscuity. Too much Facebook time has also been correlated with poor spending habits among teens, who are often unaware of how they are targeted by advertisers while on Facebook.
- American Psychological Association: Social Networking’s Good and Bad Impacts on Kids
- Lakeside Behavioral Healthcare: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Effects of Facebook
- Jeffrey Stafford, PhD: Communication and Social Media
- KidsHealth: Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games and Internet
- Internet Safety 101: Cyberbullying Statistics
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