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Critically Speaking

Mar 11, 2020

In this age of smartphones and social media, people of all ages spend lots of time staring at screens, both for practical and social purposes. With this increased use in screen time, comes the question of how this use affects and influences the user’s brains. Therese and Dr. Turel discuss some of his ongoing research into how excessive social media use and social media addiction affects the brain, particularly the reward system in the brain, and what we are now beginning to understand as the interaction between social media, and technology in general, on the brain and brain development.


 Key Takeaways:

  • There is  a fine line between social media addiction and excessive social media use that is not an addiction.
  • Excessive media use, at least in the college students sampled, is associated with significant changes in the brain
  • The brain,  especially the reward system in the brain, is very flexible – it can shrink, be pruned, and grow back based on behavior.
  • Using your phone, such as for social media, in bed before sleep affects sleep quality and reduces sleep time, which has further implications on health such as excessive eating, increased appetite, and obesity.


"We do not know if social media use has led to these brain changes, or rather, existing brain changes or differences have led to different social media use patterns. So, it's a chicken and egg type of question that is very difficult to address in research." —  Dr. Ofir Turel


Connect with Dr. Ofir Turel:

Dr. Turel’s Bio: Ofir Turel, PhD   


Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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