Doctors warn of "Facebook depression" risks   2011-03-28 16:57:07 FeedbackPrintRSS

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. doctors have warned of the "Facebook depression" risks among troubled teenagers who are addicted to social networking online, according to media reports Monday.

Although it is not confirmed whether the depression is directly linked with the usage of social media sites like Facebook, the doctors note Facebook has unique aspects that troubles young people already dealing with poor self-esteem.

They say kids with poor self-esteem are very likely to feel down if they think they don't measure up to their friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people.

"It's like a big popularity contest -- who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged," said Abby Abolt, 16, a Chicago high school sophomore and frequent Facebook user.

Snotty or judgmental messages from some teens on Facebook walls have also created a new form of bully or "profound psychosocial outcomes". It is widely reported a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl who had been bullied and harassed in person and on Facebook committed suicide last year.

The doctors encourage parents to talk with their children about online use and to be aware of the risks of "Facebook depression."

However, specialists who have studied online social networking among college students point that not all kids are subject to "Facebook deoression."

Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect only on those prone to depression.

More details of "Facebook depression" study will be mentioned in new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines, which come out this week online, the media reports added.


Editor: Bi Mingxin
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