The American Academy of Pediatrics has published new social media guidelines and cautions about the potential risk of “Facebook Depression.” According to Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new guidelines, “There are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem.  ” With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up. It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O’Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on. Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context. The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks. They were published online Monday in Pediatrics.

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