Kids Addicted to Facebook?
CHARLOTTE, N.C - Your kids probably spend hours and hours in front of the computer. Social media like Facebook and Twitter have a strong pull, especially on teens who are now becoming addicted. There's no medical diagnosis for social media addiction, but psychologists are seeing more teens who can't log off.
Like many of her friends, high schooler Raven Langhorn spends hours each week chatting and posting with friends on Facebook. "I joined a club to say I'm addicted to Facebook. If I go to school I'll be up there for about an hour, but on weekends I'll be up there for a couple hours."
"It's not uncommon for kids, especially teenagers in high school to spend a significant amount of time, an hour or two at night on Facebook " says Psychologist Dr. Sara Marcus. Marcus believes most teens like Raven function fine, but it becomes trouble when teens begin to ignore the real world. "They're not interacting with family as much. They're less interested in outside activities that they liked previously. Perhaps less socially engaged in person."
When life is tough it's easy for teens and even parents to turn to the sites.
For teens who are addicted to Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites as soon as the school day is done they flip open their cell phones and they're back online.
"Parents didn't grow up in a generation where these electronics if you will were so readily available. Mom and dad you just don't get it, people don't talk on the phone anymore. They text!" says Dr. Marcus. She believes the sites themselves aren't the problem and for people with a social difficulty it can be a valuable tool. "It can act as a bridge for folks who have not had positive experiences interacting face to face initially and it can really serve to alleviate the anxiety when meeting in person." Dr. Marcus is offering a free workshop for parents, "Facebook and Your Teenager." For more information click here.
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