Facebook Use May Lead to Psychological Disorders in Teens

Increasing research on social media’s effects on human interaction has revealed the development of antisocial behavior, narcissism and a slew of other character flaws and negative by-products.

Overdosing on Facebook may lead to the development of such psychological disorders in teens, according to a recent study conducted by Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University.

In a presentation titled “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids” at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Rosen presented his findings based on a number of computer-based surveys distributed to 1,000 urban adolescents and his 15-minute observations of 300 teens in the act of studying.

Some of the negative side effects of Facebook use for teens that Rosen cited include:

  • Development of narcissism in teens who often use Facebook;
  • Presence of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies, in teens who have a strong Facebook presence;
  • Increased absence from school and likelihood of developing stomach aches, sleeping problems, anxiety and depression, in teens who “overdose” in technology on a daily basis, including Facebook and video games;
  • Lower grades for middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period;
  • Lower reading retention rates for students who most frequently had Facebook open on their computers during the 15-minute study period.

Not all findings were negative, however — one of the more interesting points from Rosen’s research was the development of “virtual empathy.”

Generally, we think of empathy as an in-person activity, where hugs, facial expressions and kind words help improve a loved one’s mood. Rosen says that teens are developing the ability to show virtual empathy for distressed Facebook friends and that the empathy is actually well-received by friends, positively influencing their mood.

This virtual empathy, he says, can even spill over into the real world, teaching teens how to empathize with others in everyday life.

Google+ reaches 20 Million Mark in 3 Weeks

Google’s new Social Networking site Google+ has reached a massive 20 million subscribers, as almost everyone wants in on the action.  Its just been a week since Google’s Larry Page said that Google plus reached 10 million. Page noted at the time that the service remains in a “field trial” mode, and with “a lot of barriers” to use it right now, but that the company is continuing to expand how many have access to it.

Despite its massive growth in its first three weeks, a population of 20 million is just a grain of sand in comparison with Facebook’s 750 million, half of whom log in daily.

A Facebook Game for Your Inner Serial Killer

Those of you who have a need to satisfy the Dark Passenger within — and who know what that means — will find relief in “Dexter Slice of Life”, a social game for Facebook that’s based on the decadently sinister Showtime series Dexter and its vigilante serial killer.

Showtime released a trailer and screenshot for Slice of Life, developed by Ecko Code, at Comic-Con. The game will be released in September.

The game will launch on Facebook alongside the Season 6 television premiere. Players will take on the role of Dexter Morgan — the serial killer of serial killers — and they’ll be tasked with stalking victims, satisfying the dark passenger, finding evidence and completing missions. It’s the first Facebook game to offer real-time stealth gameplay.

The game will mirror the events of each new episode. In fact, “Dexter Slice of Life” players can expect to awake to updates Monday after each Sunday evening airing.

Ecko, a game publisher for more than a decade, has no intentions of disappointing Dexter fans. To that end, his team will use a variety of social media analysis tools to figure out the story lines, characters and show moments that are resonating with fans in real time. The idea, says Ecko, is to blur the lines between the show’s content and gameplay.

“This is a living, breathing narrative-based consumer product, no different than the show,” says Ecko. “[Fans] want it and expect it to be as good as the show.”

“Slice of Life,” inspired by Zynga’s social games, takes the casual genre to the next level. Ecko calls it “Cas-Core gaming” — a blend of casual (because it’s on Facebook) and hardcore games (because all the game assets are built in a 3D massively multiplayer online client).

Some trivia for non-fans: “Dexter Slice of Life” gets its name from the name of the boat the show’s lead character uses to dispose of the bodies he kills and dismembers. Something tells us this game won’t be much like your typical casual game.

Check out the game trailer above and the screenshot below, and let us know your thoughts on the soon-to-be released Facebook game.

Texting Teens: Typing Replaces Talking

After a close encounter with a texting teen at a busy intersection recently, we wondered: Has texting taken over as the primary form of communication for today’s teens?

We found our answer with this Infographic from Lab 42, which polled 500 social-networking Americans aged 13 to 21.

The headline stat: 71% of the respondents preferred texting to phone calling. But we have our doubts about that self-reported 2% who admit texting while driving, a suspiciously low number.

An additional statistic not included here: An infographic we created last year showed that adults 18 and older text an average of 10 texts per day, and guys 14 to 17 text 30 times per day — but girls 14 to 17 are the biggest texters of all, sending an average of 100 per day.

In some surveys, the overall number is even higher. For instance, according to MSN Money, each American teen sends an average of 3,339 texts per month.

Given the tremendous volume of texting going on, we’re hoping the parents paying for all this ponied up for an unlimited plan. Beyond teen texting, we’re certain we text a lot more than phone calling these days, too. How about you?

Facebook To Unveil Skype-Powered Video Chat

Facebook’s “awesome” announcement next week has been spoiled. The social network will reportedly be unveiling a Skype-powered video chat platform.

Facebook’s Seattle team was behind the new feature, according to TechCrunch. Skype and Facebook already have a serious partnership that integrated Facebook social data directly into the Skype client. Now it looks like Skype will be coming to Facebook.

This isn’t even the first time we’ve heard about Skype-powered video chat on Facebook. Rumors surfaced last year about such a product, but it never materialized.

The report is sparse on details about how it will work. Will it require a software download? Will it support group video chats? Undoubtedly it will be a major addition to the Facebook platform. Google+, the search giant’s answer to Facebook, launched with a group video chat feature, Google+ Hangouts. Google is seeing a lot of traction with the feature, but if Facebook can release a video chat product next week, Google+ Hangouts may not seem as revolutionary.

We’ve reached out to Facebook and Skype for comment.

Update: While Facebook and Skype aren’t saying anything officially, our sources confirm that Skype-powered video chat on Facebook will indeed be launching next week.

Are Men Better Networkers Than Women?

Men are generally better networkers, except when it comes to industries like tobacco and ranching.

At least, that’s according to findings by LinkedIn‘s analytics team. The researchers also found that men were better networkers in the cosmetics industry.

LinkedIn determined the “networking savviness” of the sexes in various professions by comparing the number of connections that men have to the number women have, and looking at the ratio of male to female members. For example, LinkedIn labeled an industry that was 45% female, with women having 70% of the connections, as “female savvy.” Neutral industries were the ones in which the percentage of women in the industry equaled their percentage of connections.

Since LinkedIn doesn’t require members to register their sex, some guesswork was involved. As Scott Nicholson, senior data scientist at LinkedIn, wrote on the company’s official blog Wednesday, “We can guess a person’s gender using their first name and some previously established techniques using a database of baby names.”