Scientifically speaking, social media produces dopamine in ones brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that transmits signals between your nerve cells which plays a large role in how happy we may feel. It is otherwise known as a “feel good” chemical. Health problems begin to occur when you produce too much or too little dopamine. In regards to social media, the brain is producing too much dopamine: “self-disclosure on social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance…When someone experiences something rewarding, or uses an addictive substance, neurons in the principal dopamine-producing areas in the brain are activated, causing dopamine levels to rise” Which is to say, the act of getting likes, mentions, or notifications on social media produces dopamine in your brain.
Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry conducted a study involving fifty-four adolescents between the ages of eleven and eighteen, split up into six different focus groups. The main focus of the study was to see if adolescents perceived social media as a threat to their mental health. The researches emphasized how important your adolescence is in regards to biological, psychological, and social change. This stage of your life is extremely important because it is when you begin developing skills, and a lot of knowledge. You begin to think for yourself and learn more and more about yourself everyday. This is why research done on social media in regards to your mental health is so significant in todays world. The Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry narrowed their study down to three themes: “(1) it was believed to cause mood and anxiety disorders for some adolescents, (2) it was viewed as a platform for cyberbullying and (3) the use of social media itself was often framed as a kind of addiction”. In conclusion to that, the researchers suggested more people should start to find ways in which we could use social media platforms as a home base in PROMOTING mental wellbeing.
From my own personal experiences, I can definitely say that social media is not so good for my mental health. I constantly am checking instagram, snapchat, and facebook and when I post, I am thinking about the amount of likes. It has taken me away from conversations when I’m with family or friends, because I am wrapped up in what I am looking at on my phone. This is a topic I have thought about for a while. After all the research I have done, I came to conclusion that social media has a negative affect mental health, especially if you are overusing it.
Now that phones have a screen time option, or similar apps you can get, I think checking your screen time would be a healthy way to start limiting social media use. I also truly believe that if social media did not send out notifications, people would not check it as much therefor it would limit time. Social media platforms could help by not showing the amount of views, or likes a person has on a picture or story.