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Is social media really to blame for the teen mental health crisis?

While we tend to demonize and blame social media for its role in the teen mental health crisis, hundreds of studies over many years have failed to find any real connection.

And yet, we know that teens spending hours a day caught in these often meaningless and addictive loops can’t be good for their health.

Maybe we’re looking the wrong way. That it’s less about mental health and more about brain health. That the addictive nature of social media algorithms are rewiring the minds of our kids and warping their view of and the interaction with the world.

Social media is turning our teens into different and less capable humans.

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Child Addiction

In this 15 minute video, Brainisphere creator Neal O’Farrell explores the research behind whether or not social media really is damaging teen mental health.

And why the greater threat and scandal is the strategy by social media giants to addict our kids from as young as possible, using lies, distortion, and manipulation to warp their minds.


It's Complicated!

The US Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association issued a joint bulletin in May 2023 describing teen mental health as “the crisis of our time”, and pointing the finger directly at social media.

But an analysis of more than 220 studies by Stanford University found very little evidence to show that social media contributes significantly to the teen mental health crisis.

And in the largest independent scientific study ever conducted, published by Oxford University in August 2023, an analysis of nearly 1 million people aged 12 years and above across 72 countries found that social media use has no significant impact on mental well-being (it only looked at Facebook).

Maybe social media is not the cause but the result, and teens are simply escaping to social media for long periods to try to dull the effects of the many things that are really harming their mental health.

No wonder parents are confused.

What if it's more about brain health?

With so much focus on mental health, the real danger from social media could be brain health and development.


What the biggest study ever has to say.

A massive study by the University of Oxford spanning 72 countries found no connection between Facebook use and mental well-being.

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``Facebook harms children, sows division and undermines democracy in pursuit of breakneck growth and astronomical profits.``

Frances Haugen, former data scientist at Facebook and whistleblower, testifying before Congress in October 2021
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Meet Your Host

He’s the award-winning cybersecurity expert who hacked his own brain to uncover the Brainisphere.