Posted by: crudbasher | August 9, 2011

Is Facebook Creating The Narcissistic Generation?

(c) dilbert comic for 8/9/2011

How often do we like to face people who disagree with us? I don’t think anyone likes conflict and yet learning how to deal with people who disagree with us is part of learning how to be a citizen in a functioning society. From a business sense you want people to have a huge sense of self worth and entitlement but there has to be a limit.

Facebook and other social networking tools allows us to connect to just the people who agree with us. If things get uncomfortable we can just unfriend them right? What kind of lesson is this teaching our kids?

I remember reading a report on students achievement. While the US is in a middle of international test scores for English and Math it is #1 in only 1 area: self-esteem. I think having a high self-esteem is much better than having a low self-esteem obviously, but if it is coupled with an entitlement mentality that’s where trouble begins.

The Internet is changing our kids in both physical and mental ways. I think it is folly to think that the way we learn won’t have to change too.

    • Teenagers who use Facebook more often are more likely to display narcissistic tendencies, according to a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.
    • The research, conducted by Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, also found that young people who use Facebook and other media more often show signs of other psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression.
    • The results weren’t all negative for social media enthusiasts. Rosen found young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing  “virtual empathy,” the ability to understand and share the feelings of others in a virtual setting.
    • In his presentation, Rosen told parents not to bother trying to track their children’s online social networking. Rather, they should talk with their children about how to appropriately use online technology.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. Coupled with this problem is that the internet is indeed a place where we can go for conflict – but anonymously. Who needs any rules of discourse if you’re anonymous? So we can have an elaborate public presence that is all about us and invite all our friends and have all the self-confirming interaction we want. If anything get’s touchy, we just disconnect the party-poopers. The same thing can easily happen with our more publicly relevant likes and dislikes: I can pick the news I want to hear and set my preferences to never even notice the rest.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere on the net, we can anonymously insult people or engage them frontally with real arguments, but without revealing who we are. If things get really rough, we can just disappear. There are no consequences for conflict – positive or negative.

    These things are undoubtedly having an effect on cultures of discourse that will have, indeed already are having, social and political repercussions.

    • Mark, I think you raise an important point. People tend to act out more if they know there will be no consequences. The Internet allows anonymous behaviour so people can learn the wrong lessons. Still, I am in favor of a free Internet. Some places will demand real identification and some will allow anonymous behaviour. There should be room enough for both right?

      Thanks for commenting!

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