How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health - Deepstash
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Smartphones are not making us smart

Smartphones are not making us smart

There is now a wide body of evidence that points to the fact that heavy use of smartphones, the internet, and many social media platforms can have debilitating effects on our neural processing, cognitive performance, and behavior.  On average smartphone users check their phones close to 85 times a day and interact with their phone about five hours a day. Increasing evidence is pointing to the fact that our smartphones are not making us so smart after all and are leading us to more unhappiness.

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Facebook's Social Validation Loop

Facebook's Social Validation Loop

Facebook, admitted they designed the program to monopolize our time and attention as much as possible. Specifically exploiting the principles of psychology, Facebook triggers the social validation loop and activates insecurity, where people are searching for continued validation and reward. When this happens, we fall into a pattern of the hedonic reward cycle, pleasure-seeking, for social validation.  Like Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of the dinner bell, we are conditioned to check our phone for our satiety of social approval, wondering if we got enough “likes.”

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Social media affect mental health

Social media affect mental health

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Are all social media and other things on our smartphones bad?

Are all social media and other things on our smartphones bad?

No. It’s the balance when using our devices and how we interact with them. A smartphone, the internet, or social media can all lead to negative consequences. It is our responsibility to use and interact with them wisely. If we condition our mind and behavior toward constant validation through social media and smartphone use we may suffer from anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Importantly, we have the choice how we interact with our smartphones and social media.

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Some tips for using smartphones wisely

Some tips for using smartphones wisely

  • Reduce screen time each day by 10 minutes and engage in your surroundings. Mindfully detach from your smartphone. 
  • Shut down your smartphone when you are not using it and keep it out of sight.
  • Keep your phone out of sight when you are in a meeting. Give the meeting your full attention.
  • No phones at the dinner table.
  • Try a phone-free Friday.
  • If you cannot control shutting your phone and need some support, try a cell phone lockbox.

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