Does Facebook Really Make Teens More Narcissistic?
We've all taken our turn at being kids and teens, riding that emotional tsunami as it comes barreling down upon the shores of responsibility,our parents running with hands in the air from the dirty, angst-filled tide. For many of us, now parents, our turn has arrived to stand on the ever-shifting sands, and face the approaching waves of hormones from our own teenagers, wondering aloud at the temporary and temporal madness known as the teen years.
According to Cal State Dominguez Hills psychologist Larry Rosen, all of that time our kids are spending online at social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter could be making things emotionally worse.
Rosen has been studying technology’s effects on people for a quarter of a century, recently focusing his attentions on the younger set. The results of his survey on the effects of social networking on the minds of our children could alarm a few parents out there.
Presenting a paper at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., Rosen stated that children and teenagers who spend a great deal of time on Facebook show increased physical problems such as stomach aches, sleep depravity, elevated levels of anxiety and even depression. They suffered from losses in attention span, and became downright narcissistic over time.
In other words, they act like, well.... teenagers. Has Rosen taken the time to warn us all that teenagers, plus copious time on social networking, means they’ll ultimately wind up acting like they do anyway?
I remember the blurry bipolar years between the age of 12 and 18, filled with concerns about what others must think of my clothes, my hair, my breath, my shoes, my pimples, my gym clothes and more. I remember wondering if I walked cool, talked cool, simply stood cool (in hindsight, I was never, ever cool...) and eventually drove cool. I lost countless hours of sleep wondering if a particular girl liked me, or what my parents would do about my latest bad decision. I wanted to shout to the rooftops whenever I was in love, and until then, my stomach was in constant knots.
Face it, we were absolutely self-absorbed as children and teens. We were walking and talking, gum chewing, hair-tossing messes.
You could put a bag of Ranch flavored Corn Nuts in the average teenager’s hand, follow them for the course of a week, and see every deleterious behavior Rosen listed as having been a result of too much time online. It would not be the fault of the Corn Nuts, no matter how many they ate, or how long they held the bag in their hand.Continued on the next page