Certain reward centers in your brain go off when you win money or eat chocolate–making you want to do it again. This is one of the reasons people suffer from binge eating or an addiction to gambling. According to a new study by the University of California, these same parts of the brain light up when teens get a large number of “likes” on their photos. This helps explain the phenomena of social media addiction. Relatively new, not much is known about the causes of social media addiction or its effects–but more is coming to light because of studies like this one.
What is social media addiction?
Social media addiction–though not officially classified–is a compulsive need to be on social media, even in the face of harm. This means your daughter feels that she need to check social media or she gets anxious, has mood swings, and shows other withdrawal symptoms. It also means she’s at risk of checking social media while driving, which is just as bad as drunk driving. This not only risks her life, but it shows a dangerous attachment to social media that can only be described as a social media addiction or obsession.
Study also shows how much friends can influence a teen
In the study, it was shown that if a teen saw a photo on Instagram–a social media platform–had a lot of likes or was liked by a friend, they would like it. Now if teens saw the exact photo, but with less likes or no likes from friends, they would be dramatically less likely to like it. This shows how friends have the power to influence a teen’s decisions and preferences.
Now if her friends have that power just through social media, it begs the question: how much influence do they have in real life? If there’s a photo of someone smoking a cigarette and it happens to have a ton of likes, would this influence your daughter’s view of the danger of cigarettes? More research has to be done in these areas in order to be clear.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.
For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!