Facebook makes teens narcissistic, anxious and depressed - but also nice, social and engaged

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Facebook makes teens narcissistic, anxious and depressed - but also nice, social and engaged
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(CBS) - We know Facebook and other social networks can bring about joys and evils alike. From Facebook stalking (which can be both fun and not fun depending on which side you're on) to super-distracting games (by the way, how's your farm doing?), us adults have a love-hate relationship with the site. It makes us anxious but delighted, private yet open, sensitive and thoughtless...

When it comes to teens and pre-teens, do they echo the sentiment?

"While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives," said Dr. Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University in Dominguez Hills.

In his presentation called, "Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids," Rosen discusses the various ways Facebook affects youths today.

He says, the bad effects are:

- Facebooking teens tend to 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 makes children, preteens and teenagers anxious and depressed.

- 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.

But there are positives, says Rosen, including:

- 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 screens.

- Social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students.

Complete coverage of Facebook on Tech Talk

So what do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons?

  • Ysolt Usigan

    Ysolt Usigan is the editor of lifestyle and technology for women at CBSNews.com

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