Is social media harming kids brains? Growing field of research finds new cause for concern

There are some alarming discoveries about the impact of social media on young people. We are learning of more evidence of its effects on their brain development.

Olivia Mead, 17, is among the first to admit her relationship with social media is not exactly healthy.

“Most of the day, when I’m awake, I’m usually on social media,” she said in an interview with Spotlight on America.

It’s an addiction she is open about, and with which her mom, Carrie Mead sometimes grows impatient.

“I think this is familiar for many parents of teenagers. It’s like – put your phone down at the dinner table. Can you put your phone down while I’m talking to you?” Mead said.

Her daughter insists it’s not that easy.

“Neurologically there is a need to answer it. Like your brain gets triggered,” said Olivia.

When asked why, she said, “It’s just like a habit almost and it’s like, it could be something really important and most of the time it isn’t.”

That habit? One reason the social media company Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is being sued.

According to the lawsuit, “Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens.”

Meta has also been accused of repeatedly misleading he public about the substantial dangers of its social media platforms.

“They have put our kids at risk. They have lied about it. And we’re going to hold them accountable,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin.

He is one of 41 Attorneys General to sign onto the lawsuit.

Last year, a 14 year old in his state, Adriana Kuch, died by suicide a day after a video of her getting attacked in her school, went viral.

Multiple New Jersey School Districts have also filed lawsuits against social media companies, blaming them for students’ worsening mental health.

“They’ve put products out there that caused significant harm to our residents and who ends up paying that bill taxpayers,” Platkin said.

New data on the issue are piling up, including one study published in the Journal Nature titled “Brain anatomy alterations associated with Social Networking Site (SNS) addiction”

It details how some with varying degrees of social network site addictions had “reduced grey matter volumes in the amygdala,” a part of the brain that helps control emotions and behavior.

Doctor Marc Arginteanu, a Neurosurgeon in New Jersey also wrote about it.

“I’m a neurosurgeon. Social media may change your kid’s brain,” he wrote.

In a recent interview he added, “Atrophy is a wasting away of people who are using social media in a way that would be described as addictive.”

Arginteanu is not just talking about the behavioral aspect, he also affirmed the changes could be physical.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Meta has made changes, including more restrictive content control for teens.

the company vows, “Now, when people search for terms related to suicide, self-harm and eating disorders, we’ll start hiding these related results and will direct them to expert resources for help. “

For Olivia Mead, it’s simply a habit she is for now not ready to break, even when she heads off to college next year.

“Obviously I’m going to go to my classes and do my homework but after then I’m going to want some time to lay in my bed and be on my phone,” she said.

This post was originally published on this site