Social Media Reprograms Children’s Brains And Gets Them Hooked On ‘Likes’, New Study Claims

You may have heard about social media and its negative effects on mental activity. And now, a new study is shedding light on another reason why you might want to limit your child’s screen time.

New research conducted by the University of North Carolina has gone about speaking on how such an endeavor may end up reprogramming a child’s brain. Similarly, it spoke about how it gets them hooked on to likes.

So many applications like Instagram and even Snapchat may end up making teens more addicted to the likes of keeping a check on their phone to see whether or not they’re getting a reaction of their desire on a particular post.

Experts proved how it’s the younger lot that is more addictive than the others and they’re just so sensitive to feedback on social posts. This can arise in the form of the usual likes and comments as confirmed by psychologists.

A lot of the social feedback entails social rewards as well as punishments like a thumbs up and a down while even providing tags and reporting the content of various kinds. Then we also have the likes of star ratings taking center stage.

This increasing anticipation and addictive behavior are urging more and more people to keep a check on accounts as per researchers. Now, more findings suggest that such behavior during the early years of life has the ability to finetune a brain’s sensitivity to both rewards and punishments.

The behavior becomes a habit during the period of early adolescence and may lead to hypoactivation and higher levels of sensitivity to cues over some time.

Remember, this is all proven by science as it shows how the brain alters with time and there is a change in structure and function while an element of reorganization does occur. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a period of development. Then there’s an element of peer pressure that from society that starts to kick in too.

But who is most at risk? Well, as per this study, it’s those young kids who scan social media around 15 times a day who are most at risk.

This study entailed 169 students and they arose from nearly three different public middle schools situated in the state of North Carolina. The study went on for three years and every participant kept on reporting that they kept a check on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Moreover, you had people admitting that they really did go about doing the activity 20 times per day.

Some even participated in Social Incentive Delay Tasks where their mind’s responses were calculated when they anticipated getting social rewards and ridding the need for social punishments.

Meanwhile, new research has proven how 78% of people between the 13 to 17 age bracket continued to check their phones on an hourly basis while 35% looked at the top 5 networks in a constant manner. For this research, the authors continued to highlight how students that stare at social media around 15 times a day are the most sensitive of them all, in terms of social feedback.

Moreover, such findings even proved how many kids grow up thinking social media is the way to go and they’re becoming more sensitive to the likes of feedback from their friends. So in conclusion, you might want to rid them of the habit before it becomes an addiction, as proven in this eye-opening longitudinal study. After all, prevention is always better than regret and cure.

Read next: A New Survey Shows the Most Used Apps by Gen Z, YouTube Takes the Top Spot
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