Thursday, March 22, 2012

Facebook: A Window Into Depression

Teens get stressed, teens get depressed. It is hard to find any teen these days that hasn't had their moment of darkness. It is for these issues, that facebook can be the good friend, who listens without judgement, and gives support without necessarily asking for it. Sometimes it is just too hard to let people know how you feel face to face. It can be embarrassing and unpredictable. Maybe a teen shares something with a friend and is looking for a little TLC, but instead gets sarcasm, or worse, gets ignored. Teens are by nature self-centered, and often clueless to the pain someone else might be in. Empathy takes practice, and teens can be very inexperienced in this area. Hello facebook! Here is a place you can air your gripes with the world, faceless, and with a thumbs up "like" you can feel less alone with your darkness and anxiety.

The article copied below discusses how parents might use their teen's facebook wall as a mirror into what their teen might be dealing with. As parents you can also teach your teen how to look for clues in posts of their friends that worry them. And for these two purposes I think this is a very useful article.

All teens like to bitch and moan, so getting freaked out by a comment here or there that your teen posts about hating the world, probably is not of real concern, just a venting moment. But if there seems to be a pattern to the posts that reek of sadness and depression, it can be a useful tool in talking to your teen. Perhaps a " I've noticed your posts sound a bit gloom and doom lately, what's going on?" will open a conversation.

 Letting your teens know that if they ever have a friend who is posting some pretty down in the dumps wall posts, and feel genuine concern for their friends safety, there is a facebook protocol that will get their friend some help. Next to every wall post is a drop down menu to the right. There is a report button. It can be used for harassment issues and also suicide worries. It is a great way for teens who want to help their friends anonymously can get them some help.

Facebook can be a time waster, a friend maker, an entertainer, and also a diagnostician. Looking at someone's posts as a whole can be a mirror into the soul.

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