Facebook Teens Study Unveil Narcissism Tendencies

A new study out is saying that an overuse of Facebook could be harmful to teens and create psychological and health problems amongst teens, such as narcissism. Dr. Larry D. Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, found that teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania, and aggressive tendencies. In general, Facebook overuse can also negatively impact learning and grades, Rosen said.

The term “narcissism” was introduced in 1887 by Alfred Binet but its usage today stems from Freud’s 1914 essay, On Narcissism. In Greek myth, Narcissus was a beautiful young man who rejected all potential lovers, but then tragically fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Havelock Ellis also wrote in 1898 of “Narcissus-like” self-absorption.

In “On Narcissism,” Freud expanded the term “narcissism” to explain the difference between being pathologically self-absorbed and having an ordinary interest in oneself.

Today, in psychology, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by a lack of empathy, a willingness to exploit others, and an inflated sense of self-importance. In popular discourse, “narcissism” is a widely-used term for a range of selfish behaviors. Cultural critics including Christopher Lasch have applied the term “narcissism” more generally to contemporary American culture.

Some experts believe a disproportionate number of pathological narcissists are at work in the most influential reaches of society, such as medicine, finance, and politics.

“While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives,” Rosen said in a statement. The positive impacts cited by Rosen include helping introverted kids improve their social skills, the development of “virtual empathy” for online friends, and using social networking as a teaching tool. Ultimately, it’s up to parents and teachers to stay abreast of what their kids are doing online.

By: Kara Gilmour
Published: Aug 8, 2021
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