Stirring up Facebook Fear

| March 28, 2011 | 1 Comment
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Markus Pacher

On the heels of Friday’s MindShift article, Pitfalls and Promises of Social Media and Kids, in which I enumerate the subtleties of parents navigating social media with their kids, comes this new report, released today by the American Academy of Pediatricians: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.

The main news outlets focus in on the fear factor — as usual:

I’ll be looking closely at the full document and report back, but in the meantime, I want to highlight this quote from an AP article, which is found at the very end, many paragraphs after the opening sentence about “Facebook depression.”

The benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn’t be overlooked, however, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.

“A lot of what’s happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far,” she said.

Dr. Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, said using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect on those prone to depression.

Parents shouldn’t get the idea that using Facebook “is going to somehow infect their kids with depression,” she said.

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  • http://MediaTechParenting.net Marti Weston

    Thanks, Tina! I wrote a post about the AAP report this morning, and this latest pediatricians’ statement is an excellent addition to their other policy directives (http://www.aap.org/advocacy/mmpolicy.htm). Dr. Moreno’s research, published last summer is excellent, and it you haven’t read it, take some time to do so. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/163/1/35

    I, too, am dismayed to read these headlines. You may be interested in a post at Changing Aging.org about a similar issue at the other end of the age spectrum (http://changingaging.org/blog/2011/03/29/no-need-for-death-threats/).

    Scare tactic headlines that misrepresent content increase the potential for rifts between parents and their kids. How interesting that we all need ongoing media literacy training, but increasingly the main stream media, all of whom should know better, need the most.