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Study shows social media sites can cause depression in teens

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SALT LAKE CITY -- More and more teens have been signing up on Facebook. Now a new study suggests that popular social media site may be causing depression among teens.

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that for kids with low self-esteem, Facebook's clear friend tallies and photo albums filled with pictures of their friends having a good time can make them feel like they don't measure up.

However, there may be other factors involved. Utah child psychologist Douglas Goldsmith thinks there is more than "friend count" that can cause this depression.

"They're by themselves in their room and they feel more isolated because it is not like having an actual conversation," Goldsmith said. "And that isolation can lead to some symptoms of depression."

According to a Common Sense Media Poll from August 2009, 22 percent of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day.

Knowing what your kids post on Facebook can be a big key into understanding their needs. Parents are advised to educate themselves on the warning signs such as self-isolation, as well as learning about social networking to better understand how to communicate with their kids.

Also, make sure you take part in a child's life offline as well, even if it means signing off of Facebook and unplugging the computer.

The AAP study also offers tools for moms and dads to navigate the social network scene with their children.


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Carole Mikita


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