Facebook is taking over Australian teenagers, psychologists say

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."


Comments on this story

TEENAGERS are becoming addicted to Facebook and are allowing the social network site to "take over" their lives.

I fully agree. And it's not just teenagers but young adults as well. I see a lot of people at my work logged in to Facebook when they should be working. Also I wonder if a lot of parents realise that legally you have to be 13 or over to have a Facebook account.

Comment 1 of 50

The Internet is a phase, when the Libs take over next election, they're getting rid of it once and for all.

Comment 2 of 50

If kids are accessing the internet from the home network, the parents could easily turn off the router and take it to their room each night to cut the kids off at a certain time. If they've got smart phone things, well that's your own fault for buying them for them.

Comment 3 of 50

Should read "has taken over" the lives of most people that use it - same as silly TV shows. Why people cannot live their own lives is beyond me. They have to "follow" like sheep. Depression today, is mostly caused by people who "need" to be like all the other idiots. If they don't follow the trends, they are ostrecised. The bulk outpouring of grief on these sites, on a daily basis, is most peculiar - from people who "want to be seen" on the site - when a tragedy occurs. I do not understand it. Where are the individuals today - be yourself!

Comment 4 of 50

i have been trying to disengage from facebook but so far with no succsess

Comment 5 of 50

A lot of adults are also more concerned about providing updates on Facebook and telling everyone 'what they are doing' or 'how good a time they are having'. Guess what pretenders, if you were having such a good time you wouldn't have time to be constantly on Facebook.

Comment 6 of 50

Well the 'teens' can keep it. I've moved to Google+ where the conversation (yes, people have real conversations there) is informed, entertaining and fun. Plus you've got privacy at G+. Its what social networking is all about. I'd been with Facebook for almost two years but started to feel really betrayed by their lack of concern for basic privacy rights (you don't have any with fb), and their "change without informing/warning" tactics, so I've left them behind. But I guess it all depends on your level of maturity and whether or not you think its important to update every aspect of your life. As for getting hooked. Its not just teens who are hooked on social networking, but you've just got to monitor their usage if you're a parent. My 14 yr old uses fb but she's not on it 24/7. And for her its more about keeping in touch with friends she's left behind when we moved location. I wish I'd had the same opportunity when I was her age. If people keep their usage in perspective then I don't see how social networking can be all that much of a problem. Checking your update status takes only a minute, then you usually go back to whatever else it was that you were doing (offline).

Comment 7 of 50

Facebook is for girls to post pictures of themselves, so they can judge each other, it's also for women so they can tell each other what they are cooking tonight( if they ever get off FB to actually do it). Simply it has gone from a good idea to a complete waste of time because of the narcissism.

Comment 8 of 50

Many professional organisations now use a FB account in lieu of a website. Makes it hard for those of us who don't "do" Facebook.

Comment 9 of 50

I'm a 40 year old man and have been unemployed for seven years but Facebook helps get me through my day.

Comment 10 of 50

I wonder why? Just look under the picture with this story. "Join us. . . . "

Comment 11 of 50

Its because we are becoming weak minded

Comment 12 of 50

Bravo, "Rose of Hunter Region" very true.

Comment 13 of 50

My wife bloddy live on face book all day all night get it off the net then i can use the computer

Comment 14 of 50

Facebook - the new root of all evil!

Comment 15 of 50

Nick Porter of Penrith. Maybe you wouldn't have been unemployed for 7 years if you got off your behind to find a job instead of spending all day on Fb.

Comment 16 of 50

Hmm, I was looking forward to my boy playing video games, such as role playing games with me.. now, im not too sure if it may turn into an addiciton like these kids. I think vigilance and allotment of time will be required for usage of these games. hate to take them away, as they do improve kids thinking in the real life world..

Comment 17 of 50

Why do children have computers in their bedrooms? Isn't that something that experts warn parents about?

Comment 18 of 50

FaceBlank is not taking over their lives.You cannot take something over if it doesn't exist in the first place. People undoubtedly got excited about using the telephone when it first became a household item until the novelty wore thin,as will be the fate of social websites. Unfortunately,it is destroying social interaction and an appreciation of outdoor activities,not to mention speling and gramar.{Yes,I know}

Comment 19 of 50

@Scrub Nurse of Orange, that's the lazy way out. How about blocking just Facebook and only on the kids PC's while allowing full access to the parents PCs. That's one reason why most routers have built in firewalls.

Comment 20 of 50

Facebook is for insecure people who wish to project a certain image to the rest of society....sad really.

Comment 21 of 50

Nick Porter, a 40 year oild man who has been unemployed for 7 years reckons Facebook helps him get through the day. I wonder if he has ever considered why he is still unemployed? How about- get off Facebook and go and get a job!

Comment 22 of 50

Facebook can be a positive thing. It helps people communicate their feelings and we are always told communication is key!

Comment 23 of 50

Cheap journalism, DT. Atari was going to be the end of us all in the early 80s. Just another story to keep the children-obsessed punters anxious.

Comment 24 of 50

i find Facebook boring

Comment 25 of 50

I'm a 18 year old boy and I am employed for 2 months & i see more gossip & indications towards using facebook on news websites then facebook itself, it helps me get through my day.

Comment 26 of 50

We are all social creatures at heart and crave human interaction. Teens don't realise there's a time and a place for this so always give in to the craving to connect with friends.

Comment 27 of 50

I'll say it once again......use the word NO. Stop giving kids awesome phones, awesome computers and everything they want. Control how much time they spend on these things. Yes, you'll be unpopular for a little while but you will also be able to call yourself a parent.

Comment 28 of 50

My daughter has 983 friends on Facebook, yet every weekend, she is at home by herself continually checking her phone. Not real friends I suspect. God help us with this self absorbed generation.

Comment 29 of 50

And the Labor govt have invested $50billion on a nationwide, fibre optic system (NBN) which will provide even FASTER access to the internet......and we have homeless people sleeping in parks Priorities are all wrong.......

Comment 30 of 50

Listen to all the Facebook knockers. It is actually YOU people that are out of touch with reality. Facebook is now a large part of all our lives. Every one of us. Whether you like it nor not, it is here to stay. Facebook is redefining how we live our lives and how we communicate. I spend 4 hours on Facebook each day. I get much enjoyment out of it. What about your lonely pathetic lives? Where do you get your enjoyment from? You knock Facebook because the truth is you don't have many friends. Reality check.

Comment 31 of 50

Sounds alot like the hysteria back in the 1950's where rock music was apparently taking over teenagers..some things never change.

Comment 32 of 50

"If they have wireless in the home, it's absolutely deadly," Over exaggeration of the year. If your children are that bad just do not give them password.

Comment 33 of 50

Soon these teenagers will not be able to hold a proper conversation with anyone. Facebook is evil in every way. if you want to get in touch with someone get on the phone and communicate.

Comment 34 of 50

Its not just the kids folks...facebook keeps you constantly in touch and you can share insightful information such as your= dinner, idiot neighbor, inspirational thought of the day, etc. To co-exist in a more open and transparent society. Facebook has become the preferred weapon of choice for the CIA. The "Deputy CIA Director Christopher Sartinsky" stated: "After years of secretly monitoring the public, we're astounded so many people would willingly publicize where they live, their religious and political views, an alphabetized list of all their friends, personal emails addresses, phone numbers, hundreds of photos of themselves, and even status updates of what they were doing moment to moment." This truly enhances the power of the Patriot Act in the US which allows the govt to invoke unlimited powers in order to gain any other information it deems important for "National Security". Australian version of the Patriot Act is coming, they've toyed with internet filtering already, just need a catchy name and in the meantime the "dumbing down" of the masses can continue on FB so we can like/comment/share ourselves to death. Most of us have little to hide, I just have covert governments.

Comment 35 of 50

Ah, the 'internets' - something for all the social lepers to do!

Comment 36 of 50

I've disabled the only internet capable thing I own which is my Nintendo 3ds. I am never getting a home computer to have this problem.

Comment 37 of 50

I don't have facebook and have no intentions of joining, what ever happened to communicating face to face or via the phone to have a chat!!!!! no, everyone needs to be on facebook to tell all what they are doing or did or when they had a fight with partner/husband/wife, get a life, we don't care. What makes me laugh is when family members come and say, did you hear about this one or that one, and they hardly associate with that person or knows them. and it's not only kids, the adults are just as bad, if not worse, when this stops them from conducting their day to day life.

Comment 38 of 50

Too hard to turn off the computer. Must update Facebook, must update Facebook, must update Facebook, Must update Facebook.

Comment 39 of 50

Facebook should be taken off the internet all together and allow our kids (and adults) to get their life back - what did we do before Facebook? It only destroys people's lives and those around them and it is only going to get worse. Why anyone would want other people knowing their private business and personal details is beyond me. There's more to life then Facebook!

Comment 40 of 50

I see the quick fixes up here. I locked my daughter out of her facebook as I felt her usage was a little over the top....she made a new account through her Ipod. I have turned off the wireless...she hit the neighbors wireless that is not password protected.(and she's not "bad" she's 15) I use facebook but like all things it can be abused and these kids are doing just that. I watch them sit around their laptops or mobiles texting others and then sharing the results. They have lost the art of conversation already and I read comments on my daughters page and cringe as I have not raised her to talk as she does or to allow others to talk to her as they do. They are teens and hopefully this is a stage however I believe more parents need to be vigilant. My 8yr old thinks I am really "UNCOOL" as I won't allow her a facebook page as some of her friends are doing already. This will become a problem because parents don't feel they need to monitor their children and allow it to be their babysitter. Like everything in our lives the answer is moderation

Comment 41 of 50

It got worse as soon as the Govy gave students laptops in schools. Both my kids have them & all they do is spend every waking moment on them, especially my daughter who will be doing the HSC next year. How do I stop here from wasting her time on Fb & study???

Comment 42 of 50

" legally you have to be 13 to use facebook" how can you expect teenager to be smart when adults dont know the difference between "terms of use" and "legality" it is not against the LAW to use facebook under the age of 13 it is against the "term of use by facebook" which means they can cancel your facebook account if they find out you are under 13 IT IS NOT ILLEGAL and to think so is moronic beyond belief. maybe parents need more of an education than their children

Comment 43 of 50

It aint just teens Im 40 and on it a lot.

Comment 44 of 50

Nick Porter, poster boy for the Facebook generation! Every teenagers dream..

Comment 45 of 50

Taking over teens....more like taking over adults! I just cringe when I hear 30+ year olds say 'well I have 346 Facebook friends' or 'I'm so upset because Lisa defriended me' .... How many of these friends would be at the police station at 3am bailing you out? C'mon grownups, it's time to grow up!

Comment 46 of 50

I personally find facebook evil . people get on this crappy site because they carn't interact or have no communication skills. My daughter and her friends can talk day and night on this site ! but you try to get them talking face to face. 10-15 minutes they run out of conversion+ with all the bulling an the rest of the crap that goe's on with this site!!! IT SHOULD BE FOR 18+ ONLY!!!!!!!!

Comment 47 of 50

All Facebook does is make Zuckerberg rich and even richer every time a new person signs on and sucks in the masses to using it - why can't people see this? I won't have anything to do with Facebook or any of the other similar sites - far too many problems are resulting and good conversation and communication are becoming a thing of the past.

Comment 48 of 50

Nick Porter of Penrith, maybe "looking for a job" would be a better way to spend your day

Comment 49 of 50

To Steve R of Sydney. You are spot on about the adults on facebook. I'm thinking of closing my account down as so many of my Facebook friends use it just to show off what a perfect life they are having or to say something that they thinks makes them look like really deep thinkers. What a waste of time !

Comment 50 of 50



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