In a presentation I gave recently at a local middle school, I learned that many of the kids who have Facebook pages were under 13, and did not really understand the purpose of Facebook. Many teens and preteens seem to think that Facebook was designed as a popularity contest. Therefore, their intention in posting is to get people to “like” their posts and “friend” them. This can lead some teens to obsess over whether they are getting enough “likes’ and who has more friends.
Glued to their computers after school (or sometimes during, if they have the phone app) they stalk their peer’s Facebook pages to check for updates. Instead of using this website as a way to merely share special moments with people they care about, and who care about them, they set out to prove something – that they are worthy of attention.
Some teens go to such extremes as to post inappropriate photos of themselves and others, not recognizing the long-term consequences of those images floating around on the Internet – forever. Other teens engage in cyber-bullying, using the Facebook medium as a way to bash others and knock them down.
There is a maturity level that allows a young person to recognize who are actually their friends and to feel secure in, as well as nurture those relationships. I fear that 13 may be too young for many kids to have this level of emotional maturity. Until a child is able to step away from the computer on their own volition to attend to their homework and other responsibilities, Facebook may be an unnecessary distraction.
If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.
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