Excessive Facebook Use May Lead To Depression In Teens

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new study saying social networking sites are leading to depression in pre-teens and teens, gives parents another reason to limit their kid’s time on the computer.

Like most teenagers, Keith Balke has a Facebook page.

“I’m just there to talk to my friends and see what other people are doing,” Balke said.

He logs on every day and is never bothered by postings or when a friend request is ignored.

“It’s their life, they can do what they want,” Balke said.

However, there are other teens who take Facebook so seriously that they develop what’s called “Facebook depression.”

A study in the American Academy of Pediatrics said it often happens when teens spend hours on social networking sites and begin comparing their lives to those of their friends.

“Adolescence is a very vulnerable period of time,” said Steve Robinson, a family practice doctor at Fairview. “Something as simple as being unfriended by someone can be a very significant thing.”

Social media is becoming such a part of adolescent lives that pediatricians are beginning to incorporate it in their wellness checks.

“We talk about two hours a day of screen time being an appropriate amount,” Robinson said.

Doctors said parent involvement is the best way to avoid “Facebook depression.”

“I try to have an open conversation with both my children,” said Tammy Allen, Keith’s mother.

Allen even started her own Facebook page, which is another recommendation from pediatricians.

A different study out from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Facebook may help identify people who are depressed, based on their references to depression symptoms in their profiles.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Victim Du Jour

    You just have to tell kids people put on their best faces on Facebook and toot their own horn.

    My brother says it really funny like a Brittish snob, or the way Eddie Murphey makes fun of white people.

    “I’m tooting my horn!! Toot! Toot! (while making a horn honk gesture on a car steering wheel). I’m tooting my own horn!! Toot! Toot!”

  • Justin

    There is also another study that shows that breathing all day long is bad for us. That is why we should all take 60 minutes/1hr of our day to stop breathing.

    I think that these studies are useless ~ why do these when you know there is no way to stop soothing. If 1 person takes it away another will give it to them. Common sense is needed, before someone does a study. Its clear there are more idiots out there wasting our time.

  • Skeezer

    I think we should all sit in 4-wall cubicles and not speak to each other. We’ll have coloring books and ball if we get bored.

  • Victim Du Jour

    Facebook is boring to me now, I really don’t feel addicted to it anymore.

    WCCO is where it’s at, this website is more fun.

  • KT

    I think facebooking all day is a symptom of emotional issues, not the cause.

    • Victim Du Jour

      It’s got to be tough on kids, I have experienced Facebook bullying at work, and it does bother me a little.

      Lately I haven’t been getting those vibes, but its more like people are losing interest in Facebook.

  • KS

    How is two hours of Facebook time a day an “appropriate” amount of time? What about homework, reading, playing games with family, going outside? My daughter is allowed at most 15 minutes of Facebook time a day, and she usually only goes on once or twice a week to talk to relatives from other states. She lives her life outside the computer – which I think is a lot more appropriate.

  • Elmo

    Parents and People need to wake up. So called friends on the social networks aren’t really your friends when you really need them. I was hooked on Yahoo!, and yes got depression, spent 18 hours a day, and lead to my separation from the wife. Get out people, Do something other then be here on the net.

  • Mary

    Pre-teens? I hope parents realize that you must be 13 to be on Facebook. If they are on Facebook and not 13, they have lied.

  • zmfrederick


    Interesting post on Facebook. I think it’s a double-edged sword. It can be amazingly useful but too much is never a good thing. Pretty much true for most the internet…

    I’m running a quick survey on Facebook usage. Check it out if you’re curious!


  • http://ambie22.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/spring-cleaning-and-taking-a-break-from-social-media/ Spring Cleaning and Taking a Break from Social Media « Amber's Blog
  • http://starrymusings.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/spring-cleaning-and-taking-a-break-from-social-media/ Spring Cleaning and Taking A Break from Social Media « Starry Musings
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