Stop Blaming Facebook for Your Teen's Bad Behavior

facebookThanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Co., being a teenager in the age of Facebook is unlike being a teenager at any other time. Period. But a new study that claims the social media site has made today's kids more self-centered is a load of hooey.

Psychologists at California State University claim kids who use Facebook often are "more narcissistic." To which I say: have you met a teenager lately? Go up and shake one's hand, and they'll tell you they're the center of the world.

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Now try telling them you tripped on their book bag that they left in the middle of the hallway. Ask them to please put it away. Count the seconds until they start shrieking: "Everyone's always picking on me. Why is everything always myyyyy fault? Didn't you see Sally left HER book bag there last week? Of course you didn't! You never yell at her!"

Ah, yes, parenting teenagers. Such a joy. You spend your days teaching your child that they're just part of the family, and the world does not, in fact, revolve around them.

And that has nothing to do with Facebook. It's called dealing with fluctuating hormones and developing one's independence after years of having Mom and Dad do everything for you. They were the center of your world, and now it's time to prep them for the real world.

I don't doubt Facebook helps make people feel like every random thought that pops into their head is interesting enough to throw up in a status update. But a quick check of my Facebook feed, and it isn't the teens who are oversharing. It's generally women -- mothers mostly -- over the age of 50, who like to update their children's friends on what time their "stories" come on and where they shopped for groceries.

So I asked my 15-year-old babysitter what would prompt her to "unfriend" someone quickest, and she said she gets rid of the nosy people first (because she doesn't want to SHARE all her intimate details), followed by people she termed Bible-thumpers, then people who keep a running record of their love life online (yet another version of the oversharer). The "I bought steak at the grocery store, then went to pick up the dry cleaning, and I am going to watch True Blood with my sweetie tonight" people aren't far behind. Turns out she hates oversharers too.

So let's get back to reality. Kids act like little jerks because that's part of being a teen. And it's OUR jobs to make them clean up their acts.

Do you think Facebook has made kids self-centered or is that just part of being a teenager?

 

Image via birgerking/Flickr

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