How does social media negatively affect the brain? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Gergana Mileva, Entrepreneur, engineer, and consumer psychology enthusiast:
People often discuss the benefits of social media. However, it is also important for people to look at its negative effects. Here are some of them:
1) It affects one's ability to think independently.
Social media has an uncanny way of bringing peer pressure to a whole new level. You have to like what everyone else likes, or share what people are sharing. And because people are bigger bullies online than they often are in real life, the urge to follow everyone else seems to be higher on these platforms as well.
2) It creates a skewed form of self-esteem.
Some say that it is only through social media that they feel appreciated and loved. In reality though, this appreciation and love is superficial. People do not need to like your posts to give you a clear measure of your worth. Unfortunately, this has become the norm.
3) It promotes shallow relationships.
Notice how people comment on each other's posts on Facebook, but do not even acknowledge each other in real life? Somehow, the word "friend" has taken on a different meaning. Before, calling someone a friend had more weight. Now, even two strangers who have never seen in each other call themselves friends.
4) It affects the way people spend money.
With people posting so many things on social media, people also have an even bigger urge to spend on things they don't need. For some reason, things are more appealing when they're posted online. This is probably why it has become a playground for marketers.
5) It has the capacity to alter the truth.
Social media has become a huge information dump, with different kinds of content being shared left and right. This has caused false information to spread countless times. It's disturbing how easily social media posts alter the truth. It has made people too gullible. They see one thing and share it immediately, not bothering to check the facts. Before you know it, the false info has gone viral.
At the end of the day, it's all about knowing your limits. Social media can be good, but addiction to it can easily turn it into a nightmare.