People love to sensationalize the deleterious effects of new-fangled tech on the impressionable brains of children. Psychologist Larry D. Rosen's presentation to the American Psychological Association is a little more nuanced than "Facebook Rots Kids' Brains," but it still has plenty to be concerned about. (His title: "“Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids.")
Facebook is only seven years old and has only been open to non-college students for five years (kids under 13 are not officially allowed to join), so researchers have not had much time to study the emotional, physical, and psychological effects it could have on kids. But science has proven at least one thing: Facebook does something to some people's brains, probably.
- Kids who spend more time on Facebook learn to show "virtual empathy" to their friends online, Rosen found.
- For less social kids, Facebooking can help these teens learn to socialize, explains Rosen.
- When making friends on the social network, kids are more likely to overlook race and make friends based on interest, a UCLA study found.
- Facebook can improve the self-esteem of college students, according to a Cornell study.
- Silly status updates can help breed desirable traits like entrepreneurship, a report from the National IT Center claimed.
- Facebook raises kids' self-esteem.
- Facebook breeds narcissism.
- While it also lowers kids' self-esteem.
- Young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders and are more susceptible to future health problem, found Rosen.
- Facebook doesn't prepare kids for real-life talking.
- The social network makes kids depressed, found an American Academy of Pediatrics study.
- It's addictive.
- It's distracting.
In other words, it's kind of like middle school.