Social media makes you depressed, say US schools: On Friday, January 6, 2023, schools in Seattle sued Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Snapchat – they are responsible for the mental crises of US teenagers.
Silvia ChuiSociety Editor
For some parents, social media is the new television: some are happy if they can “park” their children in front of a device, others warn of harmful influences. For a long time, psychologists and sociologists have been warning of the pressure exerted by the algorithms of Instagram, Snapchat or Tiktok on body image or political beliefs, not only on young people.
Now, a new study shows that social media consumption may have an impact on brain development. Neuroscientists at the University of North Carolina studied the brains of middle school students between the ages of 12 and 15 over a three-year period, a period when the brain is developing particularly rapidly.
Social media consumption activates areas in the brain in the long term
Conclusion: Anyone of this age who regularly checks their social media feeds, i.e. more than four times a day, over-activates three brain regions in the long term: reward-processing circuits, which also react to experiences such as winning money or risky behavior; Brain regions that govern attention and the prefrontal cortex, which helps with regulation and control. “Adolescents who are regularly on social media show quite dramatic changes in the way their brain responds, which could potentially have long-term consequences into adulthood,” says Eva H. Telzer, professor of psychology and neuroscience from the University of North Carolina and one of the authors of the study.
The results show that “young people who grow up using social media more and more often react overly sensitively to feedback from their peers,” says Telzer. Researchers disagree as to whether this could lead to long-term mental health issues such as depression.