Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Brain Science: Do Smartphones and Social Media Hobble Mental Health?

There is a recent rebuttal to a new book in Nature, The great rewiring: is social media really behind an epidemic of teenage mental illness?, stating that, "Two things can be independently true about social media. First, that there is no evidence that using these platforms is rewiring children's brains or driving an epidemic of mental illness. Second, that considerable reforms to these platforms are required, given how much time young people spend on them. The onset and development of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are driven by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors. The book's repeated suggestion that digital technologies are rewiring our children's brains and causing an epidemic of mental illness is not supported by science."

A central angle in the debate, away from devices, apps or mental state, is what can be communicated to the human mind?

It is common that communication [to the mind] targets memory, but heavier than memory [on the mind] are emotions and feelings. There are several communications that are not for memory, but for feelings and emotions. That could be where a key problem might generally be-and by a large volume, with social media and smartphones.

A person might be discussing a topic, but dressed in a certain way or with certain paraphernalia, to communicate emotions to new audiences. There are also sights, sounds and texts that may communicate a feeling, which may equal feelings that may have arrived by smell, touch or taste.

There are communications that are also designed just for memory, without an emotional or feelings target, yet in the minds of some it does, resulting in affect.

There has been a huge effort against misinformation with fact-check. However, there has been little to no effort to display what emotion or feeling posts might be conveying, for an awareness of sway.

It is known that aside from learning about the environment, language and culture for kids, emotions and feelings [grouping of] the parents-or to what they belong-also becomes learned. Some people stick with it for life, others, at some point, diverge. However, it is possible to be trained to have emotions or feelings on certain things and then for an individual's bias to be underscored by those.

Since emotions and feelings can be communicated, and people are spending more screen time, could the effect of an overload to some, result in what is not just sadness, or mild depression, but more, since the brain changes with function? Also, for some, could it drive anxiety? The long hours per day on screen may be beneficial to productivity and so on, but why does it seem addictive beyond necessary? If anything external is the environment to the human mind, could the digital environment not have the ability to cause serious mental distress, like the physical environment? With constant usage and adaptability of the mind to contents from screens, would there be no effect to minds at all, with many intense, especially from kids and teens?

Genetics and the environment are described as factors for mental disorders. Mental disorders are also diagnosed descriptively, with assessments, without any biomarkers. The question is, what exactly is mental? What really is the human mind?

Genes are in every cell, from conception to adulthood. But it is the mind that bears the ability to have complex memory, emotions and feelings. It is not the genes that know everything the adult knows. Also, what-within the brain-does the environment affect, and how?

The Human Mind

Genes are not the mind, neither is the environment the mind. Neurons are not also the mind. Neurons are cells. They have parts that are not structured to be an emotion, or a feeling or a complex memory. Clusters of neurons are also not emotions, feelings or memory. Synapses connecting neurons are also not the mind. An option to consider are the 'communication' signals of neurons.

It is theorized that the electrical and chemical signals of neurons, with their interactions and features, in sets [in clusters of neurons] is the human mind. It is a set of signals that hold or organize information that represents different types of emotions, feelings, memory, regulation and so on, respectively. Sets of signals mechanize all integrations and interpretations.

The interactions are basic functions, while the features qualify those interactions. The mind as its own operation within the brain is based on signals, not anything above, synapses or neurons, or anything below, subatomic or genes. Genes and the environment have to influence signals to have an effect.

Mental Health

While there are common interpretations [or memory] by the mind of sensory experiences, emotions and feelings often vary. Also, there are intensities [or problems] within the mind that may affect social or occupational functioning. The components of mind are signals, whose interactions and features [directly] determine everything. Depression, anxiety, delusion, hallucination and so forth can be displayed conceptually from diversions in how the signals interact and how they are qualified.

Smartphones and social media provide constant communication to the mind, which many times could be neutral, funny, instructive and so on. They, however, may also cause diversions like feeling bad, hurt, ignored, unequal, unwanted and so forth, which may affect behavior or reaction, cumulatively or subsequently. For some, it may result in lessening consequence thinking, which like illegal drugs, are used without much worry about what the immediate or ultimate negative consequences might be. With digital, because it is possible to partake in many things evasively, it may result in having fewer considerations, for self and others.

The human mind is never without an effect, in experiences. The mind was affected by things before smartphones and social media. However, with their dominance and the way the mind works, social media and smartphones may be causing different stages of mental and behavioral changes.


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