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Research: Extreme Teen Facebookers Are Narcissistic

by Adriana Lee | August 11, 2011August 11, 2011 10:15 pm PST

Well here’s a slap in the face to all the young Facebook addicts out there: Apparently the psych community thinks you’re pretty full of yourself.

New research presented to the American Psychological Association suggests that the more teens hit Facebook, the more likely they are to show narcissistic tendencies. The report, from California State University’s Professor Larry D. Rosen, also found that heavy Facebookers were prone to anxiety, depression or other psychological disorders.

This isn’t the first time someone’s made a connection between Facebook and mental illness, but before you think the health community is out to demonize the issue, consider that the same study also points out some positives: High usage in youngsters apparently correlates to better facility for “virtual empathy” (or ability to empathize with others in a virtual environment). And these networks can actually teach introverts how to socialize.

While Dr. Rosen may offer plenty for parents to be unnerved about — and maybe a little confused about, as there are some seemingly contradictory results here — he does throw a bone to the kids as well: In the presentation, the professor recommended that parents not even bother trying to monitor their children’s online social networking behavior. Rosen has often said that, no matter what today’s parents do, their kids will always be one step ahead of them technologically.

So rather than trying to find covert ways to track these children, he urges parents to give that up and just be direct. Simply talking to them about appropriate use would be much more effective.

Do you agree? If your (or your kids’) Facebook behaviors are extreme, would a simple chat would make a difference? And do you think that high usage could indicate a problem, or are there more pros than cons to social networking? Weigh in.

[via The Hill]


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...