Social media has indeed facilitated the flow of communication. With that said, it has the potential to impact the brain more than you think or know. In this article, we will discuss some of the negative effects social media may have on the brain.
Spending more money
Research suggests that usage of social media may be correlated to lower self-control, more spending and obviously higher exposure to advertisements which may lead to impulsive buying behaviour.
Yes, appetite changes: Social media has become a place where many people upload food photos and videos. Continued exposure to food-related content can activate the brain’s reward centre and induce hunger. Being exposed to food-related content can make you hungry and you would seek to eat again.
Life on social media appears very different to real life. On social media you would get to see many people enjoying themselves, travelling and indulging in the great things in life. The grass is always greener on the other side so you would tend to believe that other people are living better than you are. This can influence you to behave in a way which might not suit your pocket or lifestyle.
Lack of proper communication
Although social media has increased extensively the speed of communication, it does not replace the face to face aspect. Thinking that face to face communication can be replaced by social media is a big mistake. People may be psychologically influenced to think that social media chatting and communication is sufficient to replace face to face communication. This could not be any further from the truth.
Activates the reward centre
Research finds that the same feelings as eating chocolate or winning money are aroused when one notices a large number of “Likes” on a picture that they posted. It is noted that “Likes” and positive engagement release dopamine in the brain and this feeling makes one addicted to social media. This can, in turn, make one less focused and constantly hooked on to his phone instead of addressing important matters at hand.
Exposure to social media activity can reduce your sleep quality. So imagine you are spending some time before you sleep, scrolling through your feed on your phone or laptop. This activity will decrease the melatonin in your body which is the main hormone that regulates sleep.
Several social media platforms can allow for phone notifications. This makes your phone vibrate whenever someone is communicating with you. Research shows that this activates the reward centre in your brain. Becoming addicted to these push notifications can actually make you feel as if your phone is vibrating, without receiving a notification at all! This could be the case if you are eagerly awaiting such notifications and messages and check often for these.
Be careful with your social media activity. It can impact the brain without you even suspecting!