Teens: This is how social media affects your brain

Story highlights

  • A study found that teenagers are highly influenced by 'likes' on social media
  • Receiving 'likes' activates the reward centers in the brain, similar to winning a prize

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(CNN)Whether you're on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, What's App or Twitter, the way you communicate with friends today is changing.

Keeping in touch is no longer about face to face, but instead screen to screen, highlighted by the fact that more than 1 billion people are using Facebook every day.
    Social media has become second nature -- but what impact is this having on our brain?

      Reward circuitry

      In a recent study, researchers at the UCLA brain mapping center used an fMRI scanner to image the brains of 32 teenagers as they used a bespoke social media app resembling Instagram. By watching the activity inside different regions of the brain as the teens used the app, the team found certain regions became activated by "likes", with the brain's reward center becoming especially active.