When Too Many Friends May Backfire
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When Too Many Friends May Backfire

The 2010 movie The Social Network traces Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial (just ask the Winklevoss twins) launching of Facebook and reveals the stress that the company’s founding caused for everyone who had anything to do with it. Fast forward to 2015: Mark has 43,325,923 Facebook followers and a multi-billion dollar company. But it’s still stressful!

We don’t think your teenager is close to having that many Friends on Facebook, but he or she still may be dealing with the hyper tension Facebook can trigger. A new study from the University of Montreal looked at cortisol levels, a measure of stress, in teenagers who had 300 or more friends on Facebook and found their cortisol levels consistently elevated.  

Chronic high levels of cortisol are associated with everything from heart woes to depression. The study’s lead researcher cautions: Adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately... Some studies have shown that it may take 11 years before the onset of severe depression in children who consistently had high cortisol levels."

To ease stress, help your teen pare down the Friends list. (Unfriend was the New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year in 2009.) Chances are it contains folks your teen barely knows and never interacts with. Then limit time spent on Facebook: Not more than 40 minutes daily. If your teen dials down the intensity of the relationship with Facebook, like the Winklevoss twins, he or she will end up a winner. (They got $65 million and stock.)