Facebook … should parents be more vigilant with their kids? Picture: Supplied Source: The Sunday Telegraph
By Evelyn Yamine The Daily Telegraph November 29, 2011
TEENAGERS are becoming addicted to Facebook and are allowing the social network site to “take over” their lives.
Psychologists have told The Daily Telegraph they receive regular requests for help from parents whose teens are so consumed by Facebook that it dramatically interferes with their school work and sleep.
And the trend is on the rise.
It comes as The Daily Telegraph yesterday revealed a push to have video game addiction labelled a mental disorder after a deluge of cases where teens are skipping school and becoming violent because they are hooked on role-play computer games.
Clinical and organisational psychologist Dr Darryl Cross said adolescents felt a strong need to know what was going on and what people were saying about them, leading to them accessing Facebook at all times of the day and night.
“When it takes over and interferes with other aspects of functioning and living, then you’ve got an addiction,” Dr Cross said.
“I find some students are staying up excessively late and losing sleep because they get into a dialogue that takes them well into the night. There is often a lack of concentration in school as a result.”
He said wireless internet was making it easier for children to become addicted because they had 24/7 access to the sites via their phones or iPads.
“If they have wireless in the home, it’s absolutely deadly,” Dr Cross said.
“Adolescents have more access than they ever did before and they can’t control it.”
Psychologist Jocelyn Brewer, who is part of the Network for Internet Investigation and Research in Australia team, said teenage girls were much more “over engaged” when it came to Facebook.
Ms Brewer said girls constantly checked the site and “get hooked” on the reinforcement they received which made them feel good, like people responding to their posts or commenting on how good they looked in photos.
And parents didn’t know how to keep up.
“There’s a huge gap for parents in expertise about kids’ use of technology,” Ms Brewer said.
“They don’t understand.”