Teen brains at risk from social media, science warns

News JVTech Teen brains at risk from social media, science warns

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A new study returns once again to the subject of young people and social networks, with once again a rather negative conclusion: the brain of adolescents, particularly the part linked to rewards and punishments, would be upset.

An American study on the impact of social networks on young adolescents

Let’s start with a little opening of doors: access to social networks is surprisingly simple for young people, and increasingly earlier in life. They can be exposed to any type of content, but especially to social interactions that do not correspond to reality. And the earlier they are confronted with them in life, the more likely it is that their brain, still under construction, will be impacted by these experiences.

This is what a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina in the USA decided to test, by conducting a study in the field. The problem the team is trying to answer is: Is the frequency with which teenagers consult three social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) associated with changes in brain development through adolescence?

The subject is of extreme importance, given that young teenagers are currently subjected to a large number of social interactions via the Internet, during a period when the brain is very sensitive to social feedback.

To clarify the subject, Maria T. Maza and her team brought together 169 young adolescents from a rural area of ​​North Carolina, between the ages of 11 and 12. Half of them have engaged in a habit of regular consultation of social networks, where the other half have adopted the opposite behavior. The study took place over a period of 3 years where children had their brains scanned regularly via MRI.

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Study results

What about then? After three years of study, the results show that:

In this group of 169 young people between the ages of 11 and 12, participants who regularly consult social networks showed a trajectory of neural development in certain regions of their brain, affecting, among other things, motivation and the cognitive control network in response. to anticipated social rewards and punishments, unlike those who do not regularly consult social networks.

Thus, this study may suggest that social media use may be associated with these brain changeswhich may require psychological adjustments.

Social networks that have an impact on behavior is not a scoop. But what this study does not take into account is TikTok, and what this app has garnered. Now, almost all platforms offer advanced algorithms to offer us fast and personalized content to keep us in suspense and ever more thirsty for new photos and videos. The question is how this new way of approaching social networks will affect our brains, starting with those of the youngest.

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