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What signs of online narcissism should I look for in my child?

Michele Borba
Psychology

If there is a growing narcissistic streak among teens and young adults, let’s not put all the blame on social networking sites. After all, there are 150 million Facebook and Myspace users and not all are narcissists (or I hope not). But a social network is a great place for a teen who feels a bit more entitled to draw attention to himself, self-promote, and show the world just how great he is.

Researchers say there are a few signs that could indicate narcissism in youth who are using online social networking. Keep in mind, it’s not one sign but a combination of behaviors you should watch for in your teen. You should see these same narcissistic behaviors both off screen as well as on.

Tell-Tale Signs-of a Budding Narcissist on a Social Network Site

All About Me: Tune into your teen’s primary motive for using a social network? Is it primarily for connection to be with others or a place to self-promote? Young narcissists are all self-promoting and not using Facebook or Myspace as an opportunity to commiserate with peers.

Read pronouns: Is the teen using those “Me, I and My” pronouns so every entry is about how “I’m doing” and rarely about “What are you up to?”

Competition: Researchers say a key sign is the teen who constantly (multiple times daily) checks into the network to count his FB friends and then announce that number. The studies found that the more teens checked in and the more they announced their FB friends the higher the narcissism.

Self-Promotion: Narcissists are more likely to choose glamorous, self-promoting pictures for their main profile photos, while others are more likely to use simple snapshots. If you suspect your child is a budding little narcissist, the cure isn’t pulling their Facebook account. Chances are high that your teen earned that “entitlement” image before logging onto a social network.

If you suspect your child is a budding little narcissist, the cure isn’t pulling their Facebook account. Chances are high that your teen earned that “entitlement” image before logging onto a social network.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.