Why is social media addictive?

By: Mateo Barrera

In recent years, social media has become increasingly more popular, with almost everyone having access to an electronic device. Because of almost everyone having an electronic, it’s really easy to get social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook because they are free.

Social media is an access point for people to get recognition from people that they know and people that they haven’t even met. But not only that, it also gives people opportunities to share their opinions to other people. Due to this, people have created a sort of addictive habit to go onto social media constantly to check others’ posts and their own.

 According to an article on The Huffington Post, the psychological reasoning behind the addiction is because  “Social media engagement has been found to trigger three key networks in the brain – the ‘mentalizing network’, the ‘the self-referential cognition network’ and the ‘reward network.’”

The use of the mentalizing network is important because one of the sections of your brain that is being used in the mentalizing network, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, is used to basically help us judge how people are, through looking at them, and “has been the reason we exist today.” So, the use of this section of your brain is super important.

The self referencing section of your brain is used because on social media a lot of the time you are talking about yourself, so it is clear to see why it is used.

The reward network of your brain is triggered during the use of social media because the people who post on the platforms get a sense of reward from their friends and other people liking the things that they have posted. This feeling is a lot stronger when you are a teenager because one of the sections of your brain connected with the reward system, the nucleus accumbens area, is connected to “exaggerated” feelings of pain and pleasure. And this is why it is a lot more common for teenagers to use social media than adults, or at least feel more feelings towards the things that they post.

 

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