Social media is very toxic and can take a large toll on one’s life, but why does everyone continue to engage in the use of it?
Social media has a very addictive nature that all users are affected by. It is so addicting because people use it for social validation through social comparison, and they also use it as a coping mechanism. Even more surprisingly, it also alters brain chemistry the way addictive substances do.
According to Psychology Today, many people use social media to get reassurance about their insecurities and frequent reassurance is addicting. One of the ways people get reassurance is through likes, number of interactions and comments on their posts. This reassurance gives the user social validation and allows the user to feel better at the moment.
Also, comparing themselves with other users gives them more reassurance about their problems and insecurities. However, the benefit of reassurance is short-term and there are long-term negative effects.
Another addictive aspect of social media is the constant need to use it as a coping mechanism. According to Verywell Mind, many people use social media as a coping mechanism to distract themselves from unpleasant feelings, but this is only a short-term solution. In the long-term, social media can make you feel worse by increasing your symptoms of anxiety and depression and by taking away time for self-care activities, which is something that more effectively helps reduce unpleasant feelings.
Further, a study from Harvard University has shown that social media is psychologically addictive because, during the use of social media, the part of the brain that lights up is the same part as when someone is taking an addictive substance. When the brain uses social media, it receives that social media is a “reward” with positive reinforcement. This is not good because your brain is telling you that social media is good for you, but in reality, it is harmful in many ways.
Lastly, social media makes it easy to spread negativity, instead of positivity, according to Forbes. It is very easy for a user to hide behind a screen and spread hate, instead of spreading joy. Even with these toxic traits of social media, many users are extremely addicted and can not stop themselves from overusing.
Overall, social media plays a big part in our lives positively and negatively, but we can not seem to use it more positively. Its addictive nature may be the main reason for this unfortunate outcome.