Are Social Networking Sites Causing Depression?

Young Social Networking Users May Be At Risk

Source

So Many Chat Rooms and Social Networking Sites to Choose From

A New Wave of Depression

Are you or someone close to you showing signs of being depressed?

  • Can't sleep or sleep too much of the time?
  • Feel hopeless, that there is no joy in life?
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Constantly view events through negative eyes?
  • Have lost your appetite, or find you can not stop eating?
  • More prone to aggressive behaviour and feel irritable a lot of the time?
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings?

Evidence now suggests that users of social networking sites such as facebook and myspace are susceptible to and showing signs of depression. But more importantly those most susceptible to this fall into the younger age groups.

More and more we see new mental conditions being talked about and discarded at first, as being a phase or fad created to get attention. And before too long it has been clinically diagnosed as "real" and given a name, a source, a pill or treatment and a place in the medical journals.

Children, teens and young adults who use social networking sites will obviously find themselves confronting issues that once were reserved to the schoolyard. There is immense pressure from their peers to even have an account with these sites, because if they don't then they are just not cool. Then they can be be ridiculed for not having the right "type" of friends or not enough. Even if they are not teased about their inadequate number of friends, they can see at any time just how more popular others seem to be compared to themselves.

Pressure, pressure and more pressure.

To "fit in" is a constant worry for our young and sometimes not so young. Almost every television programme and radio station tells us to follow them on facebook or twitter, we can find out more easily than a phone call what our friends are doing. We have instant news and weather reports at our fingertips often sourced thru these channels. If we don't access at least one of them we fear we won't be "keeping up" with our friends. So perhaps this new depression is not just reserved for our young.

Not All Bad

We are all susceptible to depression. However there are a few things we can put in place to safeguard ourselves and children.

Of course there is always the good versus the bad, light versus the dark. I love facebook and don't care at all how I measure against the numbers of friends my friends have, but I am an adult and have long since given up worrying what others think of me. I am more concerned with how I measure up to my own core values. But trying to convince a teenager that their friends or lack of them doesn't (or shouldn't) define who they are is probably pointless. I enjoy the interaction with my widespread family and seeing pictures of them I otherwise would not see, talking on live chat is a lot cheaper than overseas phonecalls so for me it works really well.

My daughter who is in her 20's also loves the ability to hook up with her friends and know what they are doing socially, she has even used this avenue to sell to her friends and acquaintances, items she no longer has a use for. She even found someone to move into her spare room and sold a kitten. She never posts anything too personal on her wall and constantly checks her privacy settings. Teenagers need to be mindful of these things, but sometimes perhaps they need to learn the hard way. Some of them I imagine will get over any hurt easily but will have learned a valuable lesson, but a lot of them can be left with real emotional issues that may need professional help in overcoming.

Advice

If you, my reader, are a teen or know of a teen who is considering joining a social networking site, there are a number of things you might like to consider.

  • Ask yourself how important it is for you to communicate with your friends, outside of the usual ways you might already have. Such as school, sport, parties, phonecalls, texting and email. There are a lot of other ways when you really think about it.
  • How important is it for you to network in this way just because your friends are?
  • Do you worry that your friends tease you for not networking? How does that make you feel? and do you think you would fix that problem by joining a site such as facebook? Or would that just give them another avenue in which to tease you about other things?

You could try making a list of the good/bad you think there might be for you joining a site.

Talk to someone you trust, someone who uses these sites, and ask for their opinion.

If you decide that networking is right for you don't feel you have to let all you friends know what you are doing and what you are thinking and be mindful of comments you make. Don't accept every potential friend.

Employers or future employers can look you up so be mindful of the image you present. Don't put an inappropriate avatar or image of yourself on there. I know it is sad but just about all of us judge a book by its cover especially when we don't know what the story is all about. Preserve your identity. This might be someones first impression of you.

  • Don't forget to check your privacy settings or get someone else to show you how.
  • Don't participate in hurtful discussions about others
  • Don't swear (well not in excess) and you should learn the abbreviations (digispeak) just in case you don't already text on your mobile.
  • Don't obsess over it. It can be addictive. Remember nothing beats actually spending time with your friends.

Quick Poll

do you believe that too much time spent on social networking sites can lead to depression?

  • Yes. I know of someone who has depression because of networking sites
  • Yes. I have depression due to social networking
  • No. I think is is a myth
See results without voting

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Comments 13 comments

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

excellent advice, and a great hub, while I know that it is about depression, I feel it is important enough to put it out on a social networking site, and have people find it.


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for your comment Rebecca, that's a great idea.


jorja kick profile image

jorja kick 5 years ago from southeast georgia

I too think it is an excellent hub and excellent advice I have a step grand-daughter it has adversely affected..peer pressure is as you say bad enough in the schoolyard,now they have it 24/7..not good..

great hub..

jorja


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for your comments jorja, sorry to hear someone close to you is affected. It becomes difficult to protect them from harm when it is coming through the internet as well.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest

This is really great advice. I see so many kids getting caught up in social networking - and even texting on cell phones has become a rampant source of bullying. My oldest son is getting ready to turn 12 and we are right at that age and this has given me a lot to consider.

He has a pretty good head on his shoulders - more than I ever did as a teen, but I do worry about the "lack of social skills" being brought on by all the facebook and texting etc. It's like people are losing their human connection in all of this. I do love facebook, but like you I am older and wiser now and don't feel pressured by the silliness of others.


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for stopping by ChristinS. I worry too that with texting it is very difficult to convey feelings properly and that some people are using this means to even end a relationship is just unbelievable. I appreciate your comments and am happy you have found this info useful.


carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 5 years ago from Close to Heaven

I agree. Social networks for kids can be a lot of drama and bullying sometimes which is all over the news. It can also lead to being addicted to it. Great hub! :)


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for stopping by caroline :)


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 4 years ago from Chicago IL

My friend's daughter was bullied through facebook. She's been very depressed for a while. I think adults can be just as bad. It's easy to be a jerk when you are hiding behind a computer monitor. It's kind of sad.


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World

Interesting topic and one that definitely rings true throughout this modern world of ours.

I have had friends delete their accounts on facebook because it was getting them down, only for them to come running back and be back within a week!

It is a problem for our kids though. However, I think if we do our best to teach them well and always communicate and teach, they may just avoid facebook depression.

Good topic and interesting and up.

Peace :)


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi amymarie thanks for reading my hub and leaving a comment. yes it is sad that others are able to leave hurtful comments about us and have the ability to hide behind their computer or phone. It is bad enough that those words can inflict hurt but it becomes a bigger issue when others can read what has been said about you :)


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Richawriter, how is life in beautiful Thailand? Thanks you for your comments and voting my hub up. Have a great day! :)


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World

Life here in beautiful Thailand is Wonderful, thank you!! :)

Have a great day!

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