Is social media affecting our mental health?

  • Every day, thousands of people log online to social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. With social media websites being used by the 1/3 of the entire world, they've clearly had a major influence on the society, but what about our bodies? 

    An average person spends 15 hours per month on social media websites such as Facebook, that equates to 180 hours per year, can't log off? surprisingly 5-10% of the internet users are actually unable to control how much time they spend on the internet. Though it is a psychological addiction opposed to a substance addiction, brain scans of these people show a similar impairment of regions that those with drug dependence have. Specifically, there is a clear degradation of white matter in the regions that control emotional processing, attention and decision making. Because social media provide immediate rewards with very little effort required your brain begins to rewire itself. Making you desire these stimulations and you begin to crave more of this neurological excitement after each interaction. Sounds a little like a drug! 

    Then there is a misconception that people who used social media or constantly switch between websites and work are good at multi-tasking, but studies have found out that when comparing heavy media users to others, they perform much worse during task switching tests. Increased multi-tasking online reduces your brains' ability to filter out interferences, and can even make it harder for your brain to commit information to memory. Like when your phone buzzes in the middle of the work, or wait... did it even buzz? Sometimes it’s just in our mind and this is known as the Phantom vibration syndrome, it is where you think your phone rand when it didn’t, in one study, 89% people said they experienced this at least once, in two weeks, it would seem that our brains now perceive an ich as an actual vibration from our phone. As crazy as it may seem, technology has begun to rewire our nervous system.  and our brains have been triggered in a way they never have been before in history.  

    Social media also triggers the release of dopamine “the feel good” chemical. Using MRI scans, scientists found that the reward centers in people’s brains are active when they’re talking about their own views as opposed to listening to others. Not so surprising – we all love talking about ourselves, right? But it turns out that 30 to 40% of face-to-face conversations involve communicating our own experiences, around 80% social media communication is self-involved, the same part of your brain related to motivation and love are stimulated by your social media use and even more so when you know people are watching you. Our body is physiologically rewarding us as we talk about ourselves online. 

     The Internet has changed our verbal communication with the increase of physical separation, perhaps the ones that matter the most end up even closer. 

    Another problem that rises with the increased use of social media is the split personality disorder, we tend to show ourselves as someone we are not. There are around 81,000,000 fake profiles on Facebook. We show a different side on social media, a side that may not really exist. Some people have a different identity online as if they're wearing a mask! Some people are truthful about their identity while others recreate themselves according to what is more desirable to others, people say things they might not necessarily believe to be true but to get a like, comment or to avoid being judged by others, it’s no wonder that all the time people acting a certain way online carryforwards to their actions and daily life even after they’ve logged off. In a world where sarcasm is considered funny, somebody who used to care for others might become more focused on themselves, if someone builds a habit of acting a certain way online, that behavior can easily transfer into their everyday life.  

    If we look around we’ll find so many people who we know act differently on social media and deep down we know they’re not what they’re pretending to be, leave others even we show the perfect side of our lives to other while cropping out all the flaws! Guilty much? We all do it on an everyday basis...  for example, we take a selfie, use beauty filters, then we add more filters and after that, we crop out all the minor flaws and after rechecking it we post it with the caption “I woke up like this” 

    this is what we do with our accounts as well. we show off the things we don't even have and show a lifestyle that is not actually ours, this creates envy issues and complex issues in people who are not as wealthy. they even get depressed and their self-esteem and confidence get shattered. Many teenagers end up taking their lives because they believe they don't fit into this society with perfection all around. 

    we need to keep in mind that the reality might seem boring but this false imagine has been ruining many lives.