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How "Likes" Effect Our Kids Brains

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It’s weird. Just when you thought you were a free-thinker, the addictiveness of social media might be controlling you a little more than you thought! A recent UCLA study shows that when using a platform like Instagram or Facebook, teenagers are more likely to “like” photos that already have a high number of likes. Strange, right? This was true for all sorts of photos, including ones that displayed risky behaviors like drinking or smoking. If a photo had already been liked by a significant number of their peers, teens would just hit that “like” button without thinking too much at all. Does this mean social media is causing teens to spend less time forming their own opinions? Are they just relying on friends to approve things for them so they can jump on board? Are they not thinking for themselves? Let’s hope this isn’t the case! But it sure is interesting…

A great way to spark a conversation with the young woman in your life about this subject is to share this study with your girl, and ask if she feels more inclined to like a photo that already has a lot of likes. Maybe she doesn’t know why she does it, but unraveling and demystifying the science behind this teen phenomenon can help her see why she’s “liking” certain things. Then perhaps it’ll help her control her automatic social media (and other) impulses.

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