Facebook linked to depression

Link between Facebook and depression in young adults and children.

By William Smith

A piece published in the Daily News & Analysis on 7th May states that depression in young adults and children is on the increase due to their use of Facebook and other social networking websites. 

A 15 year old girl recently befriended an unknown person on Facebook – he claimed to be 18 years old.  After talking to him for a few days she decided to meet him at a future date.  She was shocked to see that the person she had been chatting to for more than a month was a 44 year old widower.  When she returned home she confined herself to her room suffering from depression (this was the word used in the report, though whether medical diagnosis was made or not we are unsure).  One can but assume that she had become emotionally attached to the man she had been chatting to online, and felt very let down at the discovery of his lies.  Perhaps she also felt foolish, but for whatever reason she had become very low.

Child psychiatrist Dr. Fabian Almeda said ‘We have seen an increasing number of children addicted to Facebook and other social networking sites.  Some of these children are as young as eight or nine.  Parents need to be cautious, as kids may be subjected to bullying, harassment, ‘sexting’, etc. In the virtual world.  Some children are getting into relationships and go through depression because of break-ups.’

The American Academy of Paediatrics has recently issued guidelines urging doctors to advise parent to get involved in their children’s activities on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

‘The problem arises when parents do not pick up the symptoms.  But we can’t blame them as children are generally thought to be prone to get addicted only to drugs or alcohol.  It is true that in recent times we have found addiction to social networking websites as the main factor responsible for increased behavioural problems and breakdown of communication between parents and children.’ Said Dr. Shubhangi Parker head of psychiatric department KEM hospital.

We all know that cyber bullying and harassment can take place via the internet and that this can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide.  We used to think that computer games was the main cause of isolation between parents, children and siblings and friends but now it would appear to be social networking that has become a big problem.

The solution?

As parents we need to be involved in all our children’s activities and know what they are doing and where they are at all times.  Too much time spent on the computer is not generally a good thing for any of us as it tends to take us away for everyday activities and general socialising.  We now need to realise that the consequences can be serious and long term so we need to keep an eye on how often our children are using these sites and what sort of communications they are receiving and, indeed, sending.

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