“87 out of 100 teenagers think it is more important to answer a text or call than continue face-to-face conversation; nor is doing so thought rude…” (2017).
One study out of the University of Pittsburgh, for example, found a correlation between time spent scrolling through social media apps and negative body image feedback.
Those who had spent more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media.
The participants who spent the most time on social media had 2.6 times the risk.1
Results from a separate study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression.
And another small study of teens ages 13-18 from the UCLA Brain Mapping Center found that receiving a high number of likes on photos showed increased activity in the reward center of the brain.
Further, teens are influenced to like photos, regardless of content, based on high numbers of likes.
Bottom line: It feels good to be “liked” and herd mentality is big on social media. Like what others like and you’re in.
Social media serves its purpose in providing distant relationships a means of maintenance with communication upkeep. However, it truly makes people less social in their present lives, as we unlearn what it is to communicate in real time.
Fairfield draws attention to social media’s effect in stating “as the preference for e-communication increases, what decreases is not only communicative competence, but also the place in human experience for the unconventional, unpredictable, unplanned, imaginative, intangible, indirect, incalculable, and non-preordained” (2017).
Basically, the fun and pleasure from human interaction at social events are no longer enjoyed with the increase in use of social media for communication.
Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety.
In fact, testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness.
It is more than just the pressure of sharing things with others, it is also about how you may be comparing your life with others you see on Facebook.
Many people see that someone on Facebook who has a great job, excellent husband, and beautiful home and they feel happy for them.
But, others can feel jealous, depressed, or may even feel suicidal about their own life if it is not as “perfect” as those they see on Facebook.
Now this isn’t a call to shut down Social Media or anything like that..
Social should be used as a media tool rather than a social crutch….
Ways we can work to shift the notion of what social media should be is by learning to seamlessly integrate it into our environments.
So for instance when the Internet first came out, those with computers would designate time in their “Internet” room to go and use the computer.
While it may be a little more difficult on phones, you can take it upon yourself to choose times, places, and scenarios where you are not on your phone at all.
Prado, C. G. (2017). Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Fairfield, P. (2017). Social Media and Communicative Unlearning: Learning to Forget in Communicating. In Prago, C.G. (Eds.), Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. (14). Santa Barbara,CA: Praeger.
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