This is your brain …
AND THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SOCIAL!
Who can forget the image of eggs frying in a pan from the public service announcement offered by The Partnership for a Drug Free America. That commercial launched their multi-million dollar advertising campaign back in 1987 and overall it was considered a success even named the number eleven best commercial of all time by TV Guide.
PLEASURE OR ADDICTION?
The comparison of something frying in a pan to the effects of narcotics and other drugs on the human brain was meant to bring awareness of the dangers of abuse and addiction. The infographic below shows quite the opposite is true with social media. Although it does point to addiction when our bodies release adrenaline when checking our status on social media sites, it also shows a relationship with the release of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a hormone released from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. It is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” because it is released when people cuddle or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause a surge of Oxytocin.
NOT JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE
In the past, some thought that social media was for teenagers, but actually their numbers are declining on some of those platforms. Some reasons given for their dropping numbers are “too much drama” and they are beginning to become bored with it, but many are unhappy with parental engagement on these sites.
Parents are using social media to keep tabs on their children and some kids say that they are often embarrassed by the comments left by Mom and Dad. That should come as no big surprise, teenagers don’t like being spied on and what adolescent thinks that their folks are “cool” in any way. Kids reach an age where they just don’t want to “hang out” with their parents anymore and that includes running into them online.
While the number of young people using social media are on the decline, the older users are picking up the slack. In 2012, the average age of Facebook users was 41 compared to 38 years old in 2010.
While engaging with social media may have us feeling all warm and cuddly, what are some of the negative mental consequences associated with these platforms?
The use of “auto-correct” is said to hinder our brain’s ability to read and write. As a writer myself, I have noticed a severe decline in my ability to spell since now the computer does it for me. Much in the same way that I don’t memorize phone numbers anymore since they are all stored in my smartphone.
The infographic states that 90% of social posts are about ourselves and there are a number of other things besides narcissism that people find insufferable on platforms like Facebook. Annoyances like oversharing every last detail of our lives, bragging about relationships and stating the incredibly obvious often have users closing their browser.
So is social media rewarding us with happiness or is it the dumbing down of our society? I guess it depends on who you ask.