Is Social Media Actually Bad for the Brain?

Justin Alvey
3 min readDec 13, 2019

An honest take on social media platforms and their effect on the human brain

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

In a world where content is king, social media follows us everywhere. For a lot of us it is inescapable. But is it really as evil and bad for the brain that we think it is?

Well, yes. And no.

According to Psychology Today, technology complicates our daily world but the way humans interact is different. Humans have a need to be social in order to survive. This has not changed even with screens glued to our hands.

When we achieve what can be called “social success”, dopamine is released in the brain the same as using social media platforms and obtained likes. Humans have a natural fear of death and in some cases “social” death which explains the visceral response to feeling abandoned. A social media post garnering no likes feels similar to how our ancestors would feel after being “banished” from their tribe.

The human brain, unfortunately, has a hard time differentiating between real and perceived threats. This is why internet arguments and confrontations occur so frequently by people who feel powerful behind a screen. Cowards are brave on social media.

Social media has a habit of giving its users a flight or fight feeling which is linked to the release of stress hormones in the body. This hormone is useful in troubling situations — like when encountering a mugger, bear, or a serious threat. In these cases, the release of the stress hormones in the human body is a good thing.

However, over time this can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease as our bodies produce too much of stress hormones in the wake of perceived threats.

Another issues that social media can cause is a higher possibility individuals giving in to peer pressure. This study found that individuals are more open to peer pressure in social networks. Individuals are more likely to change their mind about “liking” or following certain things when online.

Certain actions can be taken. Working on separating self-esteem from online social media accounts can have a great effect.

Don’t get me wrong — gaining a following on social media can have a great feeling. But the long term effects can be issue when left unchecked.

Justin Alvey is a professional software engineer that has written code for satellites. As of this writing has been a part of 3 different satellite teams and worked for NASA. He grew up in Detroit where he started his first company, a landscaping firm, at 15 years old while in high school.

After completing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Aerospace Eng., he is currently pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science online.

Justin enjoys good weather and is passionate about #entrepreneurship, #programming, #space, #technology, and #writing.

Justin Alvey

I’m passionate about #entrepreneurship, #programming, #space, #technology, and #writing.