Social Media doesn't require much of an introduction, because if you are reading this write-up written by me its because of social media obviously. Let me start with a few stats and facts of how many people use social media all over the globe. According to a monumental Pew Research Center study, 88% of people aged between 18- 29 use social media on frequent basis, 8% percent of 30-49 aged people and a shocking 64% of people aged 50-64. Its pretty evident that the social media has made a prevelant effect on the current generation.
Since social media has become a prominent part of our lives now, its important to study the effect it has on us as an individual. The way we think, we react and we respond has changed completely and is indirectly harming our mental health with us not knowing it.
Social media is a thing which is gonna last for pretty long time, henceforth plethora of researchers and analysts are trying to understand the psychology of social media with our lives. Reading few of the researches done, i have drawn out a summary which you should definitely read for your own benefit.
Social media affects different brain functions in unique ways. It can trigger different reactions depending on what you see on your screen. For your easy understanding, i would divide brain in three parts : Reward system, Decision making system and emotion processing system.
Positive attention on social media like accruing more number of likes on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram causes their brain to fire off dopamine receptors and excess of dopamine affects your “reward system”. When received humongous number of likes, people get a sense of happiness (its because of the dopamine). Getting addicted to this, makes your body addicted to seek more dopamine and eventually affecting your reward system. Gambling and Narcotics hold this power to rule your brain's reward system, now social media is also taking its power on it. Stop the addiction before it too late.
Saying about social media's affect on decision-making system, social media has provided us easy access to whatever we want. Anything we need is just a few clicks away. On a positive side, technological advancement has made our lives easier but on the darker note, we are losing a lot of things being dependent on it. Its affecting your communication, its affecting your social gatherings and its in-turn affecting your decision-making. Nowadays people don't prefer to talk and instead prefer to text. People are avoiding meet-ups and choosing video calls. Occassionally its fine, but on a long run its going to have a major affect. Lets react on it before its too late.
Social Media also affects your emotional processing functions. Researchers found that parts of the brain that deal with emotional processing reacted noticeably when social media users were feeling excluded or missed out. Popularly in the internet lingo it referred with the term “FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out”. What this means is that when social media users are excluded from online groups, chats, the brain reacts in these specific regions directly and it does have a deep affect. Being excluded on social media is not a thing, we have created psychologically and we are harming ourselves with it.
While these studies reflect an effort toward better understanding the effects of social media on different parts of the brain, there’s still a lot of progress to be made.
On a closing note, i would say, social media is truly a great platform to connect to people and to showcase your talent. Its an advise that people should stop taking social media too seriously. Stop giving the rights to social media to rule your mind. Its upto us to find ways to progress our lives creatively. Being dependent on social media upto a limit is consider healthy as it keeps you happy and entertained, beyond a limit it truly harms you on a longer run. Get a thought on this before its too late.