their regular consultation would make teenagers more vulnerable to criticism

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    According to an American study, increased use of social media may make our young teenagers more sensitive to what people think of them. But how much?

    Are you the proud parent of a teenager? You’ve probably already asked yourself: can their gaze “scroll” on social media like a smartphone screen have more or less serious consequences in their brains? A team of American scientists set out to test this effect in one of the first long-term studies of adolescent neural development and technology use.

    Checking your phone more than 20 times a day increases sensitivity

    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed 169 12- to 13-year-old students recruited from public colleges over three years. Each participant indicated how often they visited three popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Their responses ranged from less than once a day to more than 20 times.

    Participants then underwent annual brain imaging sessions in which brain activity related to social responses was measured. Research, publication JAMA Pediatricsreveals that the brains of teenagers who check their phones the most may be more sensitive to the social environment:

    “Results show that children who grow up consulting social media are often vulnerable to peer feedback” The author of the study, Eva Telzer, said.

    An inevitable adaptation in today’s world?

    Thus, the content of social networks itself can play a role in the construction of young adolescents by providing a constant and unpredictable flow of social commentary in the form of likes, comments, notifications, and messages. “These social contributions are frequent, inconsistent, and often rewarding, making them a particularly powerful reinforcer that can condition users to check social media repeatedly.” according to co-author Kara Fox.

    Another challenge to manage during a teenage crisis? It is not necessarily for researchers: “While increased sensitivity to social commentary may promote compulsive use of social media, it may also reflect possible adaptive behavior that will enable adolescents to navigate an increasingly digital world.” explains Maria Maza, another author of the study.

    A smartphone is not necessarily a trigger

    Nawal Abboub, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist who consults on the topic, strongly disagrees with this observation, which lacks precision.

    “Indeed, the research here shows that teenagers who spend time on their phones are more sensitive to feedback and social approval from others around them, and this leads to brain activity in certain areas of the brain. But we cannot say that this is the “reason”. This means that we do not know whether these educated adolescents have already demonstrated sensitivity, such as being anxious children.

    However, for the professional, the theme can easily be reversed:

    “Teenagers who show greater sensitivity, heightened sensitivity to what’s happening at school, or their level of well-being, will also tend to check their phone more quickly. susceptible to criticism” he explains.

    Published in Research JAMAcertainly requires further research, but according to a PhD in cognitive science, there is a benefit:

    “However, this shows that not all children are equal on social networks and we must be vigilant. You need to ask questions in front of a teenager who is stressed in front of their phone, teach them to protect themselves, not to expose themselves too much. And trying to understand why this anxiety exists.”

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