Social Media Causing a Generation of Narcissistic Kids?

01/15/2013


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While watching the movie Easy A recently, I was struck by a particular lineOlive Penderghast, played by Emma Stone, is talking to her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith, played by Thomas Haden Church, about social media. Here's what he had to say:

“I don't know what your generation's fascination is with documenting your every thought... but I can assure you, they're not all diamonds. 'Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.' Who gives a rat's ass?"

What he said is true. As a result of Facebook and Twitter, we can record our every thought, take pictures and post about every evening out, and gain thousands of followers in no time flat. We live in a generation where kids can become instantly famous on social media, and it's not always for their most redeeming qualities. 

Budding Narcissism 

New research shows that this constant communication and "plugged-in" society is having a big impact on our kids. After all, this is the first generation that didn’t know life before social media changed the makeup of our social fabric. 

According to Science Daily, at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Larry Rosen, PhD, a social media researcher at California State University, discussed how Facebook and other social medias are influencing teens’ behavior and affecting their psychological makeup:

-Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.

-Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems.

-Facebook can be distracting and can negatively impact learning. Studies found that middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period achieved lower grades.

Technology Regulation

The key is to avoid overuse, which can cause anxiety and depression in our kids as well as impacting their ability to perform at school. "You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it,"  Rosen said on LiveScience.

While trust in your kids is important, in this digital age parents should take the time to familiarize themselves with the latest technology so they can monitor appropriateness online. Remember that kids are not simply entitled to the latest and greatest technology just because their friends have it. 

 

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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