"Rewards were magnified when participants knew that their thoughts would be communicated to another person, the researchers noted."
New York, May 11 - Are selfies turning into an obsession too dangerous for teenagers to cope with? If we believe experts, adding social media to the already prevalent peer pressure is only increasing the pressure further up.
The use of social media can be a great way for teenagers to relate to their peers and to express themselves but excessive internet use can have serious negative consequences, Karrie Lager, a Los Angeles-based child psychologist, was quoted as saying.
In a recent survey published by CASA Columbia, a science-based organisation, researchers explored the relationship between teenagers, social media use and drug abuse.
The researchers found that 70 percent of the teenagers aged from 12 to 17 spend time on a social media site in a typical day, which amounts to 17 million teenage users.
Those that interact via social media on a daily basis are five times likelier to use tobacco, three times likelier to use alcohol and twice as likely to use marijuana.
Forty percent of these teenagers admitted to having seen pictures of people under the influence, and are four times likelier to use marijuana than those who have not scrolled through these images, a report in the Huffington Post said.
In another study by Harvard University's psychology department, researchers found that self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions.
Rewards were magnified when participants knew that their thoughts would be communicated to another person, the researchers noted.
Experts, however, clarify that additional research needs to be done before defining social media addiction as a distinct diagnosis.