The advent of social media has been both swift and all-encompassing, probably because the benefits are undeniable! Staying connected with friends and family as life and distance push you apart couldn’t be a bad thing, could it? Because users are integrating various social media platforms into their lives faster than we can consider the effects, we aim to question whether or not social media is good for your health.
If connectedness is the main benefit of social media sites, it may be working a little too well. Participants in a University of Salford study reported feeling badly about themselves when comparing their own accomplishments in life with those of their online friends. Users also reported that they find it hard to relax or sleep after spending time on social networks.
If people are reporting negative feelings after using social media, why do they continue to log on? A study from Harvard University reveals that addiction may play a role. According to the study, when users are “self-disclosing” on social media, pleasure centers in the brain are activated. These pleasure centers are the same ones that light up during sex, or when someone eats or receives money.
The demographics of social media users are even more revealing. Younger users are spending more time per day on social networks, meaning the trend of increased social media use is going to continue in that direction. This is why it’s important to continue asking questions about the effects of social media use on our society.