Facebook's Effects on Teenagers' Language

By Martha Holden
Teenagers spend a lot of time on social media chatting with their friends.
Teenagers spend a lot of time on social media chatting with their friends.

About 93 percent of teenagers in the United States have Facebook accounts. Facebook is the largest social media website in the world, and the website with the most traffic in the U.S., according to a 2011 study by Pew Internet. Teens using the Website always create new words and symbols to communicate to their friends whenever they are online.

Face-to-face Communication

Facebook can interfere with the way teenagers handle face-to-face conversations. Teenagers are more likely to communicate about difficult circumstances in their lives using Facebook rather than confronting the other party and communicating with them face-to-face, according to a report by the National Association of Independent Schools. Using the site also tends to pass information in a single direction. Such a form of communication can confuse a teenager’s ability to read body language and to handle conversations when involved in a face-to-face conversation.

Poor Language Command

Some teenagers who frequently use Facebook have a poor command of the language, according to a 2007 article at ABCNews.com. Facebook gives its users the freedom to pass messages in several different mediums, including videos and pictures. A teenager can use slang, shortened words, abbreviated words and emoticons to communicate while interacting with others on Facebook. Frequent users are likely to adopt this style of communication in their daily lives. Slang and other forms of language used on Facebook can interfere with their ability to command or write proper English.

Undesirable Language

The freedom accorded to teenagers on Facebook allows them to share private information. Many teenagers share sexual content and use explicit language when interacting on Facebook. Foul language used by teenagers might draw punishments from their parents if they spoke those words aloud, but teenagers often can use obscene language on Facebook without having to fear any repercussions from their parents.

Facebook Depression

Teenagers develop a phenomenon called Facebook depression when they spend too much time on Facebook, according to a 2011 study in the journal "Pediatrics." Face-to-face contact and acceptance with peers is a vital element of adolescent growth, according to the study. Depression causes teenagers' communication skills and abilities to deteriorate with both their parents and peers, leading to isolation. As a result, they sought advice from blogs and other sites other than their parents and friends, according to the "Pediatrics" study.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.