How Social Media is Changing Our Lives

Source: Search Engine Journal

Prior to the development of the internet, communication between friends and family members was done through letters or postcards.

But, over time our relationships and methods of communication have evolved as a result of social media.

And during the past 15 years, the use of social media has surged. In 2005, only 5% of adults in the United States reported using social media; today, that percentage is closer to 70%.

Policymakers, educators, parents, and doctors are interested in and concerned about the effects of social media on our lives and psychological well being due to the increase in the usage of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, as well as the time spent on them.

While the study is still in its early stages, media psychologists are starting to analyze the effects and non-impacts of time spent on these platforms.

Changing Ways of Interaction

With the aid of technology, people are changing their methods of communication every day. They can instantly make and receive free international calls and messages. Additionally, the fact that the majority of social media applications are free encourages individuals to utilize them quickly. As a result, individuals started using social media and messaging apps instead of talking to one another in person, which had an impact on people's communication abilities. Social networking applications today are also advancing technology. Technology companies and manufacturers are attempting to develop new goods based on the habits of social media users.

Social Media and relationships

While people spend their time on social media, it is also harming our relationships. Social networks gave individuals the ability to share their experiences, images, and videos, as well as other highlights from their lives once social media began to develop and thrive. People believed they were strengthening links and relationships with their friends, relatives, and even strangers, but this also led to other issues.

3 out of 4 users believe that social media can ruin or only minimally impair relationships, according to Andrew Arnold's Forbes article, which cited a study by Havas Media regarding the effect of social media on people's lives when they frequently expand their status updates and posts on social media.

What about Teens?

Teens gain from social media through growing their social networks and staying in touch with their peers, distant friends, and relatives. Additionally, it is a creative outlet. More than a quarter of teens stated in the Common Sense Media research that "social media is 'very' or very crucial for them to express themselves creatively."

There are dangers, though. According to the Common Sense Media poll, 13% of kids said they have experienced cyberbullying at least once. Additionally, obtaining improper material like violent images can be done through social media. A little more than two thirds of young people who use social media reported that they "'often' or'sometimes' come across racist, sexist, or religious-based hate content in social media."

What does Social Media do to our brains?

• Changes in Attention 

Researchers believe that because social media is so accessible and vying for your attention with the promise of ongoing new content, frequent users lose the ability to avoid distraction in general. In addition to impairing cognitive function, this also causes the brain's attention-related regions to shrink. Your attention and cognitive function are significantly impacted by this brain's capacity for change, known as neuroplasticity.

• Changes in Reward Pathways

Social media not only impairs your capacity to focus on a single topic, but also creates a screen addiction. Every time you post on the app or receive a notification from it, dopamine (the happy hormone) is released as an instant reward. Your brain gets rewired to crave more of what made dopamine release in the first place. And a continuous stream of such small rewards results in social media addiction. According to studies, people who use social media frequently have brain scans that closely resemble people who take drugs or gamble regularly.

• Changes in Memory Processes

Additionally, studies have connected heavy social media use to memory problems, particularly with your transactive memory. Selecting the knowledge that should be retained in your brain against the information that can be outsourced is necessary for this type of memory.

Sharing and saving your experiences on social media, which is social media's main function, may be changing the memories you hold onto and which ones you discard.

Social media has many advantages, but users also need to be mindful of its drawbacks. Moderation is the key to tackling Social Media.

Written By : Anshika Bansal