There are three major networks in our brain that are utilized when using social media:

  1. The mentalizing network:

    Mentalizing occurs without our realization as a way to understand the mental states of others based on our own mental state. This can be triggered by social media when deciding what to post and how it may be perceived or when looking for the motive behind someone else’s post. It is an non-optional cognitive behavior that leads to our compulsive use of social media.

  2. The self-referential cognition network:

    This network is the process by which the brain tells us what we think of ourselves. Social media participation triggers this effect to increase by 50% compared to our day to day conversation. It is almost a survival instinct that would also lead to compulsive use.

  3. The reward network:

    This is possibly the biggest contributor for high dependency to social networking. Every time we received a like or a positive comment, dopamine is released, giving a positive feeling. Thus, many people continue to engage in social media to receive the same feeling.


We may not always have the willingness or ability to eliminate our involvement in social media (This post does not promote people to completely eliminate the usage of social media), but if we understand the effects of social media on brain, it may help with our desire to be aware of how often we engage and the effects our usage can have on us as individuals. Here are some ways we can control our usage of social media.

  1. Tracking your time online

  2. Prioritize

  3. Get used to leaving your phone behind

  4. Spend more time with family and friends

In addition, there are many apps that can help you track your social media usage or limit your usage with the setting tailored to your liking. If you have other tips to control or monitor social media usage, please leave a comment and let us know!

Ever find yourself subconsciously checking your phone every few seconds even though there was no notification? Or, maybe you find yourself reaching for the phone in your pocket because you thought it was vibrating? It's no secret that social media has become a huge part of our lives.

Over 80% of the US population are using at least one social media site, and on average, spending 2 hours or more each day. Many have developed an addiction to social media; those who are not have developed a strong dependence.