Facebook Status: Depressed?

Your doctor may begin asking questions about your social media life

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) In recent years, children have gone from playing outdoors to spending their time inside using Facebook or Twitter.

A new report suggests that not only are kids being influenced by online activities, but that these online activities could lead to “Facebook depression".

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now advising pediatricians to gather information from patients about their social networking usage.

"Doctors want to know about your social networking use, as it may affect your health."

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, renowned pediatrician and founder of Pediatrics Now, discusses social networking impact on teenagers in the most recent Pediatrics report.

According to O' Keeffe in the report, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, research has found that bullying and cliques develop as a result on social network use.

Previous research also indicates sleep deprivation and Internet addiction among children using the computer and cellphones.

According to Common Sense Media (2009), 51 percent of teens check social networking sites more then once a day, and 37 percent use social media sites to make fun of their peers.

The study describes Facebook depression as a child who isolates, has low self-esteem and other depression-like symptoms. Facebook depression can be triggered when your child looks at peers’ Facebook pages.

O'Keeffe advises nurses taking vital signs to gather information about  the patients’ social networking use. Another recommendation is to have the questions asked on an intake questionnaire form.

O'Keeffe also urges doctors educate parents on social networking issues such sexting and cyberbullying.

Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages. Cyberbullying is when a child is threatened, harassed, humiliated, or otherwise targeted by another child, through the internet or mobile phones.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 31, 2011
Last Updated:
April 6, 2011