Can Social Media Damage Your Brain?

brain damage from social media

brain damage from social media

Social media is an integral part of our lives. It’s something we can’t do without, but is it really a good thing? Research has found that it can have negative effects on your brain. Whether it’s affecting your mood or your social skills, it’s important to understand how this can affect your mental health.

Research shows it can

Researchers have found that social media use is linked to increased risk of depression and anxiety. These effects are more prevalent in young people. They are more likely to spend a lot of time on a smartphone or other device.

Teens who have been diagnosed with depression have a higher risk of using social media. In a study of Turkish teenagers, researchers found that low self-esteem teens are more likely to use the virtual world as a way to escape from reality.

Another study shows that teens who check their social media accounts frequently may have a greater sensitivity to social rewards. This could mean that they are more sensitive to criticism, which can make them less comfortable in their real life.

There is an increased risk of suicide among young people who spend a lot of time on screens. Brigham and Women’s Hospital research also shows that spending more time on screens before bed can disrupt the body’s natural clock.

Social media use can lead to a loss of healthy social relationships. People who are constantly overstimulated with social networking can develop mental disorders, such as teen depression and oppositional defiant disorder.

Some studies suggest that the constant overstimulation of social networking can worsen teen anxiety. For college students, this can mean lost hours of sleep, increased stress and negative interactions with classmates.

A 2006 study showed that adolescents who received negative feedback on Facebook experienced lower self-esteem. This is called impostor syndrome. The person feels as though they have been exposed as a fraud and suffers chronic self-doubt.

Another study found that teenagers who checked their social media accounts at least 15 times per day had a different brain compared to those who checked once or twice a week. Studies of the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA), an area that plays an important role in the reward system, showed that social media users are more likely to experience a “hit” of dopamine when they receive a like.

Researchers haven’t yet figured out if this increased sensitivity to feedback is good or bad. It may be that it’s just a function of adolescent brains adapting to the digital world.

It’s like behavior cocaine

If you were to ask me, I’d be hard pressed to tell you which social media gizmo I’d be most interested in. However, as the social media juggernaut has matured, it has also mutated into a plethora of competing social, televised, and video consuming monsters. Fortunately, there are ways to tame the beast and still have a social life. One such strategy is to avoid the temptation to revert to a paper tiger. This requires a bit of self control and the right attitude. And as a result, a few of us have developed a healthy appreciation for the art of the possible. A more prudent course of action is to set aside your smartphone for a few hours each day and get in the sandbox. Not only will you be able to enjoy the serenity of real life interaction, you’ll probably be better suited to reengage with your family, friends, and coworkers. Having said that, there are downsides to the modern age, and social media is no exception. In addition to the social and financial strains, users are exposed to a litany of scams, malware, and other perils. Thankfully, there are a few social media safety experts out there that have the best of intentions, and the know-it-alls that they aren’t. With the proper knowledge and an open mind, social media can be a force to be reckoned with.

It can make you feel ostracized

There’s a strong correlation between social media use and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and poor sleep. Studies have shown that the risk of depression and suicide increases as a result of social media.

Using Instagram as an example, it’s easy to see how one might feel ostracized when someone posts something that doesn’t include you. Similarly, when you’re waiting to receive a friend request, you might feel rejected. In fact, the more you wait for a response, the worse you will feel. The aversive effect of not being tagged may even be greater for people with high need to belong.

Not being tagged is an example of a new kind of ostracism on social media. This particular situation could be confusing for the target, who isn’t sure if the person posting the content is excluding them, or if they’re just not present in the interaction.

Future studies could explore whether different needs are more or less salient in social media ostracism experiences. Until now, research has been limited to self-created content. However, future studies might use manipulations of the ostracism context to test this theory.

To study the relationship between SMD and ostracism, researchers used structured questionnaires. These included sociodemographic data, information about school, participation in social activities and daily Internet usage. They also examined scales of the OES-A (Ostracism Evaluation Scales-A), which assesses exclusion.

The authors of the study found that ostracism on Instagram was correlated with low need satisfaction. Participants reported feeling a lower need for belonging when they were ostracized, but no differences in need satisfaction were found when they were included.

Observational studies and experimental manipulations of Instagram ostracism show that the aversive effects of not being tagged are higher for people with a higher need to belong. A larger audience present might make need satisfaction less likely to be met, which would contribute to the results from Study 3.

Although the findings from this study are relatively simple, they provide a useful overview of ostracism on social networks. This type of ostracism hasn’t been studied in this way before.

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