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Social Networking Sites Make Teenage Girls Anxious and Depressed

I can't say I spend a ton of time on social networking sites (I know, go figure, right?), but I can only imagine how many hours teenagers spend on their Facebook and MySpace pages. Well researchers from Stony Brook University have come to the conclusion that teenage girls who like chatting with their friends about their problems (through IM, email, SMS, and social networking sites), are more prone to anxiety and depression.

After examining 83 13-year-old girls, the researchers noticed that the girls became more depressed when they constantly rehashed negative emotional experiences over and over. And what about the torment and teasing that can happen online as well? Remember the story about Megan Meier, who killed herself after being tormented by a group of people? Not only do the girls relive their emotional turmoil by sharing their stories with multiple friends online, but they open the door to bullying and more.


Join The Conversation
livline livline 8 years
I think LadyAngel89 comment makes sense about the parental control for tweens. Though, I'm not a parent, so I can't speak from experience. BUT I was a 13 year old once -- FULL of angst. I had books upon books of diaries, poetry, talking for hours on the phone with friends, etc etc. I felt it was therapeutic and still do. Maybe this study is just trying to say kids need to NOT be online so dang much for anything. I don't use facebook for anything but social networking with new and old friends. I don't "vent" on my profile and think it's a bit silly when people do. But then again, I'm a 35 year old adult. Maybe tweens or anyone for that matter, finds "venting" on a blog, etc therapeutic? Not sure.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
Umm... find me a young girl around the age of puberty that is going to be 100% emotionally sound. I was an emotional disaster around that age. First boyfriends, hitting the "teenage" years, wanting more independence. If a child spends an inordinate amount of time on social networking sites or the internet in general, it should be controlled by the parents. Then they'll just relive their negative moments with their friends over and over again on the phone, like I did.
devils devils 8 years
This was why I dropped my Facebook...
misogi misogi 8 years
I agree with candace87 - the sample size was WAY too small, and I wouldn't take the conclusions seriously at all. How is talking about your problems with your friends a bad thing? How is repeatedly bringing up the past not hurtful? This study is ridiculous.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
not just for teenage girls. I think with the introduction of technology as a medium for communication you miss out on all of the body language and I don't know of anyone who hasn't asked, "Did she mean that like this, or was it like this? or was she being sarcastic? cynical?" don't get me wrong - I don't think that tech is a bad way to communicate, i just think it makes some people who are bad communicators in the first place into worse communicators, causing all of us to feel some anxiety at some point. (i also think it takes some bad communicators and turns them into great ones - so there are two sides to the coin)
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
sad but true. i see it with my younger cousins. they are always trying to dispel rumors or counter cyber bulling, or stop the spread of lies about them and their friends. the info they put in status updates is ridiculous. don't get it at all. but i'm happy that i can monitor what they say and do. i let their parents know when it gets out of control!
candace87 candace87 8 years
Also, 83 people isnt much of a sample, and I think if ANYONE went over a negative experience repeatedly theyd get upset. That has nothing to do with the internet. In regards to bullying, it happened before the internet, it probably always will happen. Do we really need more "studies" on this.
candace87 candace87 8 years
Tell me something that DOESNT make 13 year old girls anxious and depressed. These studies annoy me, there are so many better things that these researchers could spend time and money on, yet they just keep doing the same studies over and over.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
That's sad, because I would have thought that sharing a negative experience with someone [that you trust] would be cathartic and actually make girls less depressed. Go figure. Speaking as a future career researcher, the sample size is pretty small, so the study loses some validity. Did all these girls know each other/were friends through a social networking website? Did the girls have certain personality characteristics in common? Were they all of the same race, socioeconomic status, etc? The linked article says that they were accompanied by their parents during the study. Did the parents have to submit an emotional update form? Because there's the Hawthorne effect, where you act differently when people [especially influential people like parents] are watching. So many questions...I really question whether this study means what other people have said it does.
katejlogan katejlogan 8 years
This sounds like pretty typical teenage girl behavior. I remember doing this w/ my friends and we didn't have the social networking sites but we still over-analyzed every look a guy gave me or word he said.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
That is interesting, "the researchers noticed that the girls became more depressed when they constantly rehashed negative emotional experiences over and over." Because I would easily rehash negative emotional experiences over the phone to about four different people whenever they happened back in middle/highschool. Are there any studies that are not focused on the media but just focused on story telling? Because I always thought that venting was therapeutic. I know I usually feel better after telling a few people about something that is upsetting me to get various different opinions and feedbacks...
willowdiamond willowdiamond 8 years
hmm. I can definitely see truth to it.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I can see this. Society projects such a bad body image anyway, I can see how constantly rehashing the things you hate about and then hearing more ways to hate yourself and your body can cause depression to go up. I know most women will always have some kind of body issue, but for the most part, we just need to embrace.
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