You must have come across the adage, “all that glitters is not gold. But unfortunately, everything that appears on social media isn’t true. Be honest. How many times in a day do you pick up your phone to scroll through social media? Is it hard to give an exact number? You will be taken aback once we reveal the digits found in a study conducted in the year 2019. An investigation revealed that the number of times you pick up your phone to open Instagram and Tiktok is 85 to 100 times a day. Just 15 minutes ago, you checked the time. It was 11 pm, and then boom, once again, you check the time on your watch. It is 2 in the morning. Where did the three hours go? Congratulations! You have made life easier for people working at your favorite social media sites such as Instagram, Tiktok, etc. Here is the scoop on how social media sites such as Instagram and Tiktok mess up with your brain:
#5 The game of DOPAMINE
Have you ever thought, what is so unique in these apps that you keep scrolling through them for hours? Social media apps like Instagram and Tiktok reminisce our childhood when, despite knowing the harmful effects of sugar candy, we didn’t stop craving it. Instagram gives you the same feeling of buying something you have longed for. How? Just like when you shop for your favorite pair of sneakers, your brain releases a dopamine hormone. You love that feeling, and you end up craving more for it.
Similarly, Instagram releases that same hormone, which is why we spend hours and hours of our day relishing dopamine. Do you know scrolling Instagram and consuming drugs and alcohol have something in common? The Dopamine Effect. Several neuroscientists claim that our brain feels the same when using social media, gambling, or consuming drugs.
#4 Creates a sense of FOMO
Have you ever wondered why each person on social media lives a perfect life with an ideal house, career, relationships, money, and looks? Yes, multiple times. And then, you look at your lifestyle, employment, and family. This is when you compare your life with the ‘so-called celebs’ on Instagram or Tiktok. Or do you often check on your friends through social media to know whether they are having fun without you? Congratulations! You are also a victim of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on social media. According to a study conducted by Mashable, 56 percent of the netizens agreed that they experienced FOMO on social media. The study further revealed that 14 percent of Instagram users, 72 percent of Facebook users, and 11 percent of Twiterratis suffer from FOMO on these social media platforms.
#3 Endless craving for validation on social media
Jim uploaded a picture of his 23rd birthday bash on Instagram. Within seconds he got 15 likes and four comments from his followers (mostly his friends and colleagues). He replied to all four comments and put his phone back. Now minutes later, his curiosity forced him to open Instagram again to check how many likes and comments he got this time. BOOM! Fifty plus likes and 15 comments this time. So what was the feeling that forced Jim to check likes and comments on Instagram? Validation. What people think about ourselves and how many people liked your recent post on Instagram or Tiktok affects our self-esteem.
#2 Attention Span
The 15 seconds or 90 seconds video format of Instagram reels and Tiktok has messed up our attention span. If you are one of those netizens addicted to reels or Tiktok, you might face this same issue. But it directly affects your productivity. As your brain has got trained with the activities that require short attention. Studying or completing a task at work seems impossible as actions require a long time and attention, which is why you pick up your phone with piles of jobs waiting to be completed.
#1 Floodlight Attention
Some of you will be unaware of the term ‘floodlight attention.’ But now you will. Psychologists have named the phenomena of multitasking on social media and between the devices as ‘floodlight attention.’ According to the research conducted by the Aalto University that multitasking on social media doesn’t make you smarter but affects your overall productivity. Now, your brain is indulged in more than one activity simultaneously.
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