Facebook tied to poor mental health in teens: What parents must know


(CBS) Is Facebook turning teens into narcissistic, antisocial outcasts?

One leading social network researcher says yes. His research shows that while Facebook can help kids develop greater empathy - and give shy teens a way to socialize - it also brings mental health problems.

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In an aptly named talk, "Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids," Dr. Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University said frequent Facebook-surfing teens show more aggression, mania, anxiety, and depression. He said these issues can lead to worse health problems as they get older.

Facebook can also screw up a teen's schooling - Rosen cited studies that showed teens who checked Facebook frequently got lower test grades. He presented his findings Saturday at a psychology conference in Washington D.C.

What should parents do to minimize the bad effects?

Don't buy that software that lets you track and block your kid's internet use, Mom and Dad.

"If you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child's social networking, you are wasting your time." Rosen said in a written statement. "Your child will find a workaround in a matter of minutes."

He suggests talking to your kids.

"Communication is the crux of parenting," he said in the statement. "You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem -whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image - your child will talk to you about it."

But don't talk too much. Rosen says parents should talk to their kids in a five to one ratio - talk one minute, then listen for five. Other tips include setting rules and limits on technology with your child's input - like two-minute tech breaks after 15 minutes of studying - and writing a behavioral contract with set consequences.

Parents, what do you do to limit your kid's internet use?