According to a new report, Facebook and other social media can have a dramatic impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. The use of social media by teens has skyrocketed in recent years.

A recent poll found that 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day. Seventy-five percent of teenagers now own cell phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging.

Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos by cell phone, computer, or other digital devices. Many of these images become distributed rapidly via cell phones or the Internet. A recent survey shows that 20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude photographs or videos of themselves.

Researchers have proposed something called “Facebook depression”, which is depression that develops when teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to show symptoms of depression. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents.

If you have concerns about the amount of time your teenager spends online, you’re not alone. Many parents are shocked at how important social networking is to their children. There is nothing wrong with connecting with others through these new media outlets, but be aware of the potential impact on your children.

Click here for a link to the article: “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families” from Pediatrics: The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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