The big question is: does your teenage daughter co-ruminate? Please check now, as this is a very serious matter.
Researchers from Stony Brook University have declared that excessive co-rumination--perhaps you would refer to it as "chatting with your friends about your problems"--by text, e-mail and on social-networking sites leaves impressionable teenage girls more prone to anxiety and depression.
"There is a wealth of communication technology available to teens today that allows them to talk over and over again about the same emotional difficulties," declared Joanne Davila, the psychology professor who led the research.
The researchers examined the lives of 83 13-year-old girls. No, they didn't do it online. And yes, the girls were accompanied by their parents. They re-examined them after a year.
They concluded that the more the girls discussed their romantic ups and downs with their friends online, the more they became candidates for Prozac. And the more extensive their romantic adventures, the more they wanted to talk about them. With depressing consequences.
"Parents may need to be aware when they are obsessing about a setback and set limits on the discussion," Davila told the Daily Mail.
While I am sure the professor's heart is precisely where it should be, within a millimeter or two, I am depressed by her conclusions. Girls love to talk. If there wasn't Facebook, they'd find another way. Yes, bathrooms, coffee shops, school, you name it.
However, I must take grave issue with the professor's instincts about boys. Her views suggest she might herself be prone to a little seasonal affective disorder at the very least.
"It's most likely they are discussing the game last night or meeting up, but there's a possibility they could start discussing emotional problems more than in the past which would put them at risk," she said of teenage males.
"Start discussing emotional problems?" This view seems miserably sexist. Don't boys talk about their romantic tragedies just as much as girls?
If there wasn't Facebook, they'd be doing it in the pub or wherever else teenage boys hang out. I suspect they have even mastered the art of chatting to their buds while texting other friends on their iPhones.
I know that many harassed, caring parents read Technically Incorrect. This was proved when I wrote about the teenage girl who sent 14,528 texts in one month. Readers had sons who easily beat that monthly tally. So I hope to hear from parents and their views of the depressing influence of Facebook.
Isn't the truth really that we are all victims of the promise of the romantic ideal? The failure to get there makes everyone miserable.