A new study presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association suggests that children who spend too much time on Facebook could turn into narcissists and also develop health issues.
In the 16th century Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio painting, the Greek mythological character, Narcissus, a hunter who was adored for his beauty, gapes at his own reflection in water and falls in love. The classic tale led to the psychological term, narcissism, which is defined as excessive self-fascination.
(In psychoanalysis, narcissism can be defined as erotic gratification from self-love due to physical or mental characteristics.)
Children may turn into narcissists if they use too much Facebook, at least according to a new study “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids.” Psychologist at Cal State Dominquez Hills, Larry Rosen, presented the detailed research Saturday at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington.
According to a news release from the American Psychological Association, Rosen and research colleagues observed middle, high school and college students for 15 minutes as they were studying for an exam. As they continued to examine the children, they found that most students had turned their attention to their mobile phones after only two to three minutes of studying.
Average teenagers send and receive more than 2,000 text messages per month, which can lead to concentration and sleep difficulties and physical stress because they “have been raised on the concept of connection.
Narcissus gazing at his own reflection.
“To them, it’s not the quality that’s important, but the connection itself,” said Rosen. “Phone or face-to-face conversations allow for a minimal number of connections, while other tools let them connect to the world.”
So what are the conclusions?
- Teenagers who logged into Facebook on a constant basis are more likely to develop into a narcissist because they are able to broadcast themselves 24 hours a day seven days a week voluntarily.
- Users from all ages who were on Facebook frequently are more likely to obtain other personality disorders, such as anti-personality disorder, anxiety and paranoia and even alcohol use.
- Teenagers, who used technology on a regular basis, including the Internet or video games, were more likely to develop physical and mental health issues, such as depression, stomach aches, sleeping disorders and anxiety.
- Teenagers were also more likely to miss school.
“While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives,” said Rosen.
Although the study may shed a negative light on social networking, Rosen did outline some of the positives.
- Rosen found that young adults were more likely to have “virtual empathy” for their online friends.
- Young introverted individuals are able to socialize behind the safety of their monitors.
- Social media can also connect students to learn with the various teaching tools available.
“Communication is the crux of parenting. You need to talk to your kids, or rather, listen to them,” said Rosen. “The ratio of parent listen to parent talk should be at least five-to-one. Talk one minute and listen for five.”