Bergman acknowledges that unraveling the cause of millennial narcissism is complicated, but he has a hunch that it has more to do with offline interactions with parents and educators than online networking.
"Parents have coddled and overprotected their children more over the generations and have taught them, intentionally or not, to expect special treatment just for being them," Bergman said. "This, in combination with the ‘self-esteem' movement in the schools, has likely resulted in increased narcissistic tendencies in our youth."
Young narcissists do, however, have different motivations for primping their online profiles.
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Rather than keeping in touch and interacting with folks, millennial narcissists are more driven to acquire as many friends as possible and use their carefully crafted profiles to impress.
"Narcissists use Facebook and other social networking sites because they believe others are interested in what they're doing, and they want others to know what they're doing," said Laura E. Buffardi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, who studies narcissism and social networking.