Do ‘likes’ on social media affect our mental health?

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When people make a post on social media that receives countless likes, a little excitement is felt by that person. During this state of bliss, dopamine is released from the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released when you are in a state of pleasure and happiness. Every “like” that they earn assures them of their sense of self.

Although they are happy when seeing the number of likes on a post, how do they feel when they do not receive that same feedback on their next post? Envy clouds up their judgment, causing them to dive into depression and comparison with others.

With Instagram’s recent experimentation with hiding likes in select countries, other social media handles are thinking to do the same.

As college students, social media is used for almost everything. From social media influencers making income off of their likes to businesses using their Facebook page for engagement, social media shapes the world today.

Florida A&M business administration student Alex Bracero agrees that hiding likes would be a smart thing to do.

“I think it would help us a lot mentally. People portray this version of themselves online and when their followers see the number of likes they have or how well they look, jealousy and insecurities begin inside,” Bracero said.

What people do not realize is that people choose what they would like to post online and can keep the negative parts about them private. This can include the pictures they choose to post as well; social media users can determine what they would like to disclose to their peers.

Emma Hundt, an integrated marketing and communications student at Florida State University, studied body image issues and body shaming on social media and the effects it has on millennial women.

“I did a decent amount of research on mental health issues affected by social media. The biggest issues were anxiety, depression, and social isolation,” said Hundt.

It is no secret to social media companies about their impact on users, but it is shocking to see them taking initiative.

Jolette Tucker, a political science student, does not believe they should hide likes.

“You cannot fault anyone for the number of likes they get. I’m not saying it can’t affect our mental health but it will not stop us from being able to see the picture of that person,” said Tucker.