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Lindley Estes writes about Spotsylvania County schools, King George County Schools and other issues of interest to the community.

You can also follow her on Twitter @SpotSchoolNews

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Doctors concerned about Facebook use and depression in teens

Doctors are concerned that Facebook can lead to depression among some teens, Associated Press Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner is reporting today.

This provides one more caution for parents about their children’s use of social networking sites. Below is a portion of Tanner’s report.

CHICAGO (AP) — Add “Facebook depression” to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors’ group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.

Researchers disagree on whether it’s simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.

But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.

With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.

It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O’Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on. Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.

The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks. They were published online Monday in Pediatrics.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/gettingschooled/2011/03/28/doctors-concerned-about-facebook-use-and-depression-in-teens/

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