For every study we see that says social media helps students, another one says it harms them. A new set of results indicates that overuse of the technology poses distractions, but Facebook can be healthy when used in moderation.
Larry Rosen, PhD, (pictured) a social media researcher at California State University, Dominguez Hills, presented study results Saturday at an American Psychological Association meeting in Washington D.C. He revealed that while many teens who use Facebook tend to be more self-absorbed, the medium also helps foster healthy relationships, which is a dire necessity in teenage development.
Introverts, who are now finding themselves in a world that is increasingly extroverted, will also find that Facebook can be an enriching experience socially.
Rosen, who culled computer-based survey responses from 1,000-plus urban adolescents states that the social networking site can be distracting and negatively interfere with school grades. Some other adverse effects on teen users of the popular social networking site are:
- Constant gamers tend to experience more insomnia, agita, bouts of depression and stomach aches.
- Facebook users who log on more are self-absorbed, belligerant and surprisingly, more anti-social.
- Those who are obsessed with social media demonstrate poor school attendance.
- Higher alcohol use among constant Facebookers who are teens and young adults.
- Constant task-switching from Facebook to school work resulted in lower test scores.
- Social media-obsessed teens get worse grades than others.
On the positive flip side, Facebook can lend a direly necessary hand to introverts who long for heightened social lives. The social networking site can in fact provide valuable teaching tools like opening up lines of communication and helping to mold one’s sense of self.
Rosen told the Los Angeles Times, “Social networks can also help kids to practice life behind a safety curtain.” Young people are also learning to hone the virtures of being empathetic by offering virtual supportive comments online, a positive trait that carries over onto real life.
Rosen approached his research remotely since his own children are twenty-somethings. He also offers a little advice for concerned parents who might want to keep track of their kids’ online interactions.
Readers, what do you think about Rosen’s study?