The news from the world is that there is yet another problem for teens to overcome these days – the possibility of Facebook depression.
While the work of the American Academy of Pediatrics should concern itself with the problems of those growing into adulthood, this just may be one of those times when they should leave the psychiatry to the psychiatrists. They tend to know when it is appropriate to fret about something, and when it is time to leave well enough alone.
As a former teen, one that grew into adulthood before there was widespread internet access, I can say positively that the world of teenagers is fraught with many problems, both real and imagined. That time of anyone’s life is full of new experiences, new things learned – in school and out, and all the while influenced heavily by emotional ups and downs thanks to the runaway hormones coursing through veins in volumes not seen before puberty, and seen few times after the age of majority.
But do we really need to “identify” another problem which is simply part of that larger one which is known as the teen years?
The notice of this in PC World this day puts it as –
The latest threat being bandied about is "Facebook Depression," in which the constant barrage of smiling, happy friend updates amplifies a teen’s feelings of inadequacy.
Is the peering at Facebook any different than that of being at the mall for teens of yesteryear, when the cliques would hang together, and that certain few (that many were in those days) not included, but sitting on the bench watching, as the cool people wandered in and out of the various stores? Or perhaps we should reflect on the times when at a dance these same people were not asked to dance, and certainly did not have the nerve to ask anyone to dance, for fear of rejection.
Is this not what teen years are all about? Is it not a picture of a teen shown in any dictionary next to the word angst?
The teen years will always be a time of difficulty, of uncertainty, and of changing temperaments, which fluctuate like the alternating current in our wall sockets, with nearly the same frequency. The fact that depression is part of those changing temperaments is just a bit of the puzzle of the movement through time from 12 to 20. It has always been that way, and it will always be.
For it to be any different would be odd, and we would then take our teens to the doctor wondering if they had become “Stepford children”.
The world is full enough of real problems, which are more than difficult enough for parents, educators and anyone in the immediate vicinity of teens to deal with. We don’t need any more, ostensibly new non-specific ailments to deal with, especially when they are simply new naming conventions for old problems.