Jessica Stebbins, M.S., Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Discovery Institute, P.A. Rockledge, FL
Serving Brevard County
In a previous post I discussed the link between facebook and depression. Parents should especially be on the lookout for signs in their teens for even more reasons than were previously discussed. First, they are at an increased risk of having the social comparison effect impact them due to many teens having lower self esteem. They tend to compare themselves to other people in order to help determine who they are and where they stand socially. Many teenagers get a great deal of their self-worth from social situations, friends, and looks, all which they have a greater risk of finding lacking compared to others due to the networking site.
An even bigger issue than social comparison, bullying has become a large problem on facebook. No more are the days when individuals were able to escape teasing and other verbal bullying when they were not in the presence of the perpetrator. With facebook making everything public, there is no place to hide. This makes the impact of the bullying even more intense. We have all been hearing on the news about incidents of bullying occurring on this social networking site, including one I mentioned in a previous post about girls posting nude photos stating that they were of someone they actually were not. The effects can be huge for both the victims and the perpetrator in these instances.
What can you do about this as parents? You need to facilitate open communication with your teenagers. Teens have a habit of not wanting to talk to parents which can make it difficult and the harder that parents push, the less teens want to talk. Let your teens know that you are there to talk about anything that they may need to talk about. Also, try not to be judgmental and they may be willing to talk to you more. It may also be helpful to talk to your teens about some of the incidents in the news. For instance, talk about the incident with the nude photos and be sure to mention all the criminal charges those girls received. Make it an informative instead of a lecturing session and they just may be willing to listen. Teens tend to not realize the gravity of their actions and how it not only affects others but can also affect them.
If you are looking for a Brevard County counselor or therapist give me a call. My office is located in Rockledge and I would be more than happy to talk with you.