Facebook Is Turning Your Children Into Narcissistic Idiots

Who are also better suited to show empathy toward others...wait, what?

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Facebook Is Turning Your Children Into Narcissistic Idiots
[ Social Media]

A new study presents some interesting theories on how the world’s most popular social network is affecting our youth – both for the better and for the worse. But do the beneficial and detrimental findings actually contradict each other?

The new information comes from research presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Larry Rosen, PhD, discussed how he feels Facebook and other social media are influencing teens’ behavior and affecting their psychological makeup.

The presentation, entitled “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids provided these troublesome effects of Facebook use –

  • 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.

That paints a pretty bleak picture of social media in this age of technology, indeed. Of course, I could argue that simply living in modern society makes our children more susceptible to psychological disorder – or that the culture of over-diagnosis has something to do with all of that. But that’s another article altogether.

Dr. Rosen did outline some positive affects of social media use –

  • Young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing “virtual empathy” to their online friends.
  • Online social networking can help introverted adolescents learn how to socialize behind the safety of various screens, ranging from a two-inch smartphone to a 17-inch laptop.
  • Social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students.

If you read through both the scary social media effects and the positive social media effects, it might become evident that there is some contradiction. Facebook use causes teens to develop narcissistic tendencies and possibly anti-social behaviors, but it also teaches them “virtual empathy” and allows “introverted” teens the ability to connect to other people? Social networking is a great teaching tool but kids who check Facebook when they are trying to study get crappy grades?

Do these inherent contradictions tell us something about Facebook? Or kids in general? Can the same tool affect people in incredibly different ways? It looks like some kids are using Facebook to better connect to the global community while others are becoming depressed or anxious from it.

Is Facebook really causing this? Is it the reason the teens are psychologically unstable? Possibly. But evidence like this might suggest that social media is simply a mirror that reflects our already-present tendencies. Sure, Facebook can facilitate and even exacerbate narcissistic tendencies, but is it truly to blame?

Another day, another study about how Facebook is changing everyone. The fact that Facebook can both “help and harm” children puts it in the same category as a lot of things that they interact with everyday. It just seems like the negatives of Facebook and other social media get a lot more attention than the positives these days.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook Is Turning Your Children Into Narcissistic Idiots
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  • http://travel.booklocker.com Tim L.

    “Can the same tool affect people in incredibly different ways?”

    Yes, that’s the key. For some people, Facebook is worse than crack. For others it’s the equivalent of an occasional beer. I would guess that teens who are already narcissistic and prone to addictive behavior are going to find a way to reinforce those behaviors, whatever tool that might be. Others will use it for more positive reasons.

    But I know one thing, my 11-year-old is not allowed anywhere near this network and when we do open the gates, it’ll be in a very controlled manner.

  • http://norayr.arnet.am Norayr

    I think kids and adults who avoid socializing in real life, will avoid it in virtual life.

  • George Lue

    Not only is Facebook consuming our childrens’ attention, but this egoism has spread to businesses too. Businesses care so much about how many Facebook likes or Tweets that they have that they’ve resorted to buying them at the types of sites listed at facebookfansreviews.com” rel=”nofollow”>BuyFacebookFansReviews that sell Facebook likes. In many ways Facebook has usurped normal social interaction between people. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it always devalues and degrades our culture and society in many respects. If you use Facebook wisely, it can enhance the amount and quality of interaction you have with other people but if you use it poorly you risk reducing yourself to a digital persona and nothing else.

  • Chloe Hemmerschwecher

    I got a firsthand reality check of the utter sadness of Facebook last weekend. A pre-teen family member (not even old enough to technically be on Facebook without lying about her DOB) came for a weekend trip with us to our cabin in the mountains. We restrict our own kids computer access – especially at the cabin where we have a beautiful and safe environment to explore.

    Not accustomed to having any such restrictions, she went through such serious Facebook withdrawals that she wanted to go home almost immediately (back to 115 degrees in Phoenix) from HER ONLY SUMMER vacation trip with her cousins so that she could get back to her virtual friends online – instead of engaging with her “real” life with family.

    • Ryan Kempf

      a story like this will become all to familiar like I said in my previous posting someone who is on Facebook for an unhealthy amount time which was clearly the case in this story this girl became so disinterested in real to life activities that is a shame

  • Mike

    The fact that some people needed a study to show this boggles my mind. I’m 17 and I joined “Crackbook” at 15, I have probably spent 2 days total on Facebook because I’ve no attraction to it at all. I have noticed however, that the friends I have that feel the same way about Facebook as I do are the same friends I’m hanging out with on Friday and Saturday nights, whereas my more virually atuned friends rarely seem to want to do anything without an iPhone/iPod in their hands.

  • http://digitalgutterspace.com Editor

    Reminiscent of the whole debate on television- is it good or bad for children? Perhaps the difference is that policing social media is much more difficult. Also, there may be peer pressure to us it.

  • http://http.kelabjutawan.org/krisjutawan Betty

    l love Conduit.com

  • http://www.rahulgladwin.com Rahul

    You’re right. Needless to say, being a “drunk stoner” is considered cool and hip in this day and age. I, as a young adult, left FB for good in 2010.

  • Ryan Kempf

    I think Facebook is great Yet I think our lives can become so virtualized that we forget how to interact with one another on a personal level I think its a good springboard to other live social events Facebook has its place just like other social events do because its a Social Network I believe that our society could become poor if we become so stuck on being on a Social Network there must be a balance in society

  • Ryan Kempf

    in reality its not Facebook’s Fault its a lack of self responsibility and self discipline because like it or not people do have control cover how much time they spend online it just doesn’t get exercised very well at times

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    I read the article you quote by Dr. Rosen. There is no reference to how many people were involved in the study or even how the study was done. This invalidates the report.

  • Ryan Kempf

    in reality its not Facebook’s Fault its a lack of self responsibility and self discipline because like it or not people do have control over how much time they spend online it just doesn’t get exercised very well at times

  • http://www.contentforconversions.com Russ Hudson

    If it’s not Facebook, it’s something else. I remember in the late 80’s and early 90’s it was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that was supposedly turning young minds into soup. Then it was chat rooms – remember those days? Now it’s Facebook. The fact of the matter is that narcissistic idiots will be exactly that regardless of whatever medium you happen to discover them on/in/around. Of course, in our modern society of ridiculous “addictions” like IAS (look it up) we only need to do one thing to resolve this problem: take personal responsibility.

    Meh. Whatever, nevermind.

  • http://www.webpronews.com/facebook-is-turning-your-children-into-narcissistic-idiots-2011-08 Eliana

    I agree with the fact that Facebook is affecting young adults nowadays. Since the use of Facebook becomes so addicting, that it makes them incomplete when they are unable to connect to it. It all starts off as a game and the young adult is hooked. When initiating a Facebook account, the main focus of it is to post/look at your friend’s statuses. This is when you start developing narcissistic tendencies, when you start comparing yourself appearance to that of your fiends on Facebook. On the other hand, Facebook cannot be fully blamed for this because if we all knew how to manage our time with it, this problem would not exist.

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