A new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, states that the brain development of adolescents who frequently check their social media feeds takes place differently.
Excuse me, what?
You read that right.
The study, titled Association of Habitual Checking Behaviors on Social Media With Longitudinal Functional Brain Development, done over a period of three years followed 169 participants who were “recruited at age 12 years.”
With brain scans done over the next three years, this is what the researchers found:
Sensitive to social feedback: When the study first began, participants who were habitually checking social media showed a tendency anticipating social feedback such as rewards and punishment. Over the course of the study, this tendency only seemed to turn more sensitive.
The study read:
"The results of this cohort study suggest that social media checking behaviors in early adolescence may be associated with changes in the brain’s sensitivity to social rewards and punishments."
But, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and one of the researchers involved in this study, Dr Eva H Telzer, said that while “teens who are habitually checking their social media are showing these pretty dramatic changes in the way their brains are responding, we can’t make causal claims that social media is changing the brain.”
So, what now? At the moment, further research is required on how social media impacts the brain in the long term.