Addicted to Facebook

Facebook LogoFor many of us, social networking has become a part of our daily routine. We wake up with Facebook, we have lunch with Facebook, and we go to bed with Facebook. Checking our Facebook accounts has become one our daily necessities, for not only my generation but for older generations too. Many parents and even grandparents have at least one social networking account now. Facebook has become so popular, so fast, that there are even support groups for social networking addicts-no joke! We all know why we love sites like Facebook. It’s not only a way to keep in touch with all of our friends; we can also be snoops in the privacy of our own homes. I’m sure many of us have used the phrase “Well it came up on my mini feed” to hide our snoopiness from our friends. Truth is we all check out each others Facebook profiles to find out stuff like who’s going out with who, the latest drama between friends, and of course to check out the latest pictures of people on our “Friends List”.

Most of the people I know keep their Facebook profile “Private”, meaning that the only people that can view it are those we have accepted as friends; however it’s not fool proof. Some teens may regret posting not-so-flattering pics of themselves, for example; drinking at a party or wearing a skimpy outfit, especially if their parents, teachers, employer, or college recruiter happen to see it. A good rule to follow is, “if you feel like you could print your profile and take it with you to a job interview, it’s probably okay.”

In a recent Children’s Hospital Boston blog, Dr. Michael Rich responded to a concerned mother about the excess of computer usage with her son. Dr. Rich recommended that teens should spend no more than 1 to 2 hours in front of any media screen, which includes television, computers, and video games. Although I respect Dr. Rich’s concern about too much screen time, the reality is that many high school students spend more than 2 hours a day on the computer alone doing research for homework assignments. This doesn’t even take into consideration any extra time for watching a favorite TV show, playing a video game or getting “news feeds” from favorite social networking sites. It would be a challenge for most teens to reduce their “screen time” for sure.

As far as parents making Facebook profiles, I don’t think that it is that big of a deal. Personally I have a very open relationship with my mom. Though she does not have a Facebook profile, I am friends with many of my friend’s parents who do. I think that it all comes down to how comfortable you are about allowing your parents (or any adult) know about what goes on in your social life. If a parent or a trusted adult gets a Facebook account, I think you can establish ground rules and respect one another about the content of your pages. Simply ask them to respect the trust you have given them in allowing them to access to your page, because you do not want to hide anything from them. Do let them know that if they misuse the access to your page or post anything that embarrasses you, you can remove them as a friend. It’s better to be open and honest with your parents. Trust will become much bigger, and consequences could likely be smaller. You just have to be smart.

One last thing, if you’re a teen (or an adult for that matter) and spend more time on Facebook or other social networking sites, instead of doing schoolwork, spending time with family and friends or other important things, you might need a Facebook intervention. Relax; it’s more common than you think. There are resources to help you learn to change your routine such as spending more face-to-face time with important people in your life and learning to express yourself in other ways.