6 Surprising Ways Social Media Changes Your Brain

We all know that social media has an effect on our moods. Many people report feeling anxious or sad after visiting social media sites. Most times, we experience these feelings when we perceive our friends’ lifestyles to be better than ours.

Surprisingly, there are those who feel better after social media scrolling. It turns out having your posts and photos liked activates your brain’s reward center, research shows.

The truth is social media has a bigger effect on you brain than just changing your mood. It can actually alter how your brain works. These are some of the surprising ways social media changes your brain.

6 Surprising Ways Social Media Changes Your Brain

1. Social media reduces your ability to focus.

You might think that using different social media sites at the same time improves your ability to focus, but it does the opposite. Research shows that heavy social media users struggle to focus and switch tasks, because as they overindulge in social media, their brains lose the ability to filter out distractions.

2. Social media may reduce your ability to think for yourself.

You’re more susceptible to peer pressure when on a social media site, according to this study. This means you’ll be more open to other people’s opinions and less likely to think for yourself.

You may want to lay off social media for a while if you always find yourself agreeing with the popular opinion.

3. Social media may lower your self-esteem.

In one study, researchers found that one in every three people they interviewed felt angry, frustrated, or lonely after spending time on Facebook.

Most times, people experience these feelings when they compare themselves socially to their peers. The second cause is lack of comments or likes on a person’s posts.

4. Social media may affect your brain the same way drugs do.

Social media addiction is real. In fact, this study found that heavy internet users have the symptoms of drug addiction. They showed symptoms such as withdrawal, introversion and cravings.

This means social media can change the brain’s reward pathways the same way that drugs do.

5. Social media may cause sleep deprivation.

Even though this is not a direct effect on your brain health, we know that sleep deprivation has a big effect on mental health.

Social media scrolling before bedtime makes it harder for you to fall asleep because of the blue light that your phone emits. Blue light inhibits the production of melatonin, which consequently reduces the quality of your sleep. Here’s how you can boost your melatonin levels.

6. Social media can affect your nervous system.

Did you know that the reward centers in your brain are activated when your phone vibrates? For this reason, most people start experiencing phantom vibration syndrome (fake vibrations). This condition, which may affect up to 90 percent of the population, affects both your brain and nervous system, according to research.

You don’t have to quit social media entirely to protect your brain health. Only heavy social media users experience most of these side effects. Therefore, use it in moderation.

Have you noticed other ways social media affects your brain? Share your experiences in the comments.

Images via Getty


berny p
berny p2 months ago

everything in moderation...but you cant beat...real friends!

Christine S
Christine Stewart2 months ago

I have a time limit, to protect my brain- lol!

Maggie D
Maggie D3 months ago

I read horrible things about Facebook every day. I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole! The only form of social media I will have anything to do with is care2! I learn so much and have come to know some really lovely people from all over.

Mona M
Mona M3 months ago

Thank you, you and I, we will never say it enough.

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you.

hELEN hEARFIELD3 months ago


Leo C
Leo Custer3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Toni W
Toni W3 months ago


Toni W
Toni W3 months ago


Shirley S
Shirley S3 months ago

As long as it is "social" media & not "antisocial" I am for it.