How Social Media Affects The Brain June 02 2014, 0 Comments

Technology has never been more prevalent than it is today. Social Media alone has enabled the world to become connected to one another. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide a way for us to become connected with long distance family members, old friends, strangers, even celebrities. It is nearly impossible to not be reached by someone anywhere in the world. For example, how many times have you seen someone post that their phone is broken and to message them online if they need to be reached? Or how about stories of people suffering from cancer or some other life-threatening disease who reach out to celebrities via Twitter. It brings a smile to your face when you read of a celebrity who responds and goes out of their way to support a fan who is suffering. These are just a couple of the many positive uses for social media. However, there are some growing problems that are associated with too much time spent online.

 

There have been recent neurological studies performed on what happens to the brain while engaged with social media activity. Generally speaking, the brain would react positively whenever the user experienced receiving a “like,” “shoutout,” or “mention.” This is understandable. There are few people who do not enjoy or appreciate genuine displays of approval or acclaim, even if it is something as simple as “liking” a picture. When does this become dangerous? Well, when we decide to actively spend more time on social media in search for recognition or when we replace online interaction with physical interaction. Addiction is typically associated with drugs, alcohol, or pornography. But there are other forms of addiction, and an addiction to social media (or online activity in general) is a very real thing. Sure, an addiction to Facebook isn’t likely to kill you as opposed to an addiction to heroin, but it can lead to other unhealthy habits and behaviors.


Some people have even gone on “diets” from social media. Most have found the experience rewarding. For example, more time is dedicated to personal interaction with friends and family. Parents find themselves becoming more engaging with their children as opposed to every person in the household disconnecting from each other and connecting to their phone or tablet. A general rule of thumb to keep in mind is to use moderation in all things. There are many great benefits from technology and social media, but it is important to create actual social behaviors with real people. Those are the relationships that will build your character and have a lasting impact. It is safe to assume that most, if not all, “likes” will be forgotten by the following week, let alone ten years from now.