Breakups are getting messier with Facebook, as teenagers increasingly post mean or embarrassing statuses about their exes.
“We want young people to engage in healthy relationships and part of it is breaking up, an oft-neglected area because adults are not comfortable, nor do they have the skills,” said Casey Corcoran, director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong initiative. “Nobody’s talking about it.”
The group aims to help teenagers deal with Facebook-related breakups by suggesting how long after a breakup to wait before listing themselves as single, and whether or not it is socially appropriate to delete photos of their ex’s or “unfriend” them.
This is not the first time the topic of social networks and relationship breakups has been broached. A study from Telenav showed 10 percent of iPhone users, 18 percent of Android users and 15 percent of BlackBerry users had broken up with their partner via a social network or other text-based communication.
While similar studies call attention to such trends, the Boston Public Health Commission is one of the first to formally present a forum to educate teenagers about the issue.
Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that a number of people suffer from “Facebook Depression.” The condition occurs when people feel left out or come across upsetting information on the network. This study dovetails with the Boston forum, and some in the assembly mentioned finding out about their breakup by reading their partners changed relationship status, or seeing tagged photos of their partner and another person.
In one of the assembly’s lighter moments, members of the commission showed pictures of celebrity couples that had managed healthy breakups as positive examples for the teenagers. Justine Timberlake and Cameron Diaz were one of the ex-couples who exemplify a perfect break up because they have stayed friends and were able to be in a movie together.
The final message of the commission was “Face It, Don’t Facebook It,” urging teenagers to take a technology timeout after a breakup before rushing to Facebook.