Featured Media Resource: Can Snapchat Make You Depressed? (Above the Noise/KQED)
In this video, we break down the science and cut through the hype about the link between depression and social media use, and look at how different social media platforms may affect your brain in different ways.

ABOVE THE NOISE, a new YouTube series from KQED, follows young journalists as they investigate real world issues that impact young people’s lives. These short videos prompt critical thinking with middle and high school students to spark civic engagement. Join hosts Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary for new episodes published every Wednesday on YouTube.

Social Media and Your Brain

Do a quick Google search on how social media affects your mood, and the results make it seem like all the social media platforms will plunge you into depression. Facebook shows everyone’s perfect life and exotic vacations. Expertly curated selfies abound on Instagram. But, if you look at the actual research, the results aren’t that simple.

All social media platforms are not created equal. The relationship between social media use and depression is complex, depending on what platform you use and how you use it — it can make you feel lonely and down, or it can make you feel more connected and supported. This is especially true with Snapchat. It’s pretty new to the research world, so it hasn’t been studied for that long. But, it may be that Snapchat affects your brain in a fundamentally different way.

Do Now

Because social media could be good OR bad for you, should parents or teachers have a say in what social media you use and how you use it? #DoNowSnapchat

How to Do Now

Do Now by posting a video response in this week’s Flipgrid.

You can also post your response on Twitter or in the comment section below. Be sure to include #DoNowSocialMedia in your tweet.

Go here for more tips for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.

More Resources

ARTICLE: Facebook Blues: How You Use the Site Can Make You Depressed, Say Research (KQED Science)

GUIDELINES: Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why (NPR)


Is Social Media Making You Sick? 11 April,2017Derek Lartaud
  • Adrian Astorga

    i don’t think energy drinks should be more regulated. Energy drinks have been around for some time now and people are pretty aware of their side effects. Most people only drink energy drinks to get that little extra kick in their day, or have a cup of coffee. Coffee is a more commonly consumed drink by people of all ages and it is proven that coffee contains between 100mg and 150mg of caffeine while energy drinks contain to as a low of 50mg of caffeine. Companies are already starting to provide on their labels the amount of caffeine contained in their product that should be enough so a person knows not to consume too much on a daily basis. #DoNowEnergyDrinks #MyCMSTArgs

    • Melanie Funk

      I like that you mentioned coffee. I mentioned alcohol to the fact that people are going to drink it no matter what. As long as you give them the facts, they can do what they want from there. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Melanie Funk

    I believe energy drinks are very similar to the idea of alcohol. You know all of the risks, warnings are on the bottles and it’s up to you whether or not to drink it. As for minors, we should leave it up to their parents to decide if they want their children drinking them or not. Adding this ban will not necessarily protect minors from anything, much less stop them from drinking them. This article goes into further detail why energy drinks shouldn’t be ban. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/steve-lafleur/energy-drink-deaths_b_2241858.html #MyCMSTArgs

    • Stone Dennison

      I totally agree, we should let the parents decide. This topic merely comes down to personal perspective. Do you believe the government has the right pass restrictive legislation? Is the legislation over-stepping and bad for personal freedoms? I believe when under 18, it is the responsibility of the parents. We should educate, not regulate. Get this info out there, the stuff is bad for you and your health. Drink a healthy caffeinated alternative such as green tea or coffee. For some perspective on the argument look at what other are saying. http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-energy-drinks-be-regulated #myCMSTArgs #DoNowEnergyDrinks

  • Stone Dennison

    I believe energy drinks should be allowed to people of age 14+ and up. This age is when we enter into high school, and usually enter into increasingly difficult academic loads as well. Caffeine in moderation can be used as a tool for people alike to narrow focus and productivity. If kids shouldn’t drink energy drinks, should they also not drink coffee do its caffeine consent as well? The video claimed may things as well as how it can lead to obesity among other things, energy drinks also come in sugar free options. If someone is under 18, it is up to the parent to decide if they are allowed to drink such beverages. #myCMSTArgs #DonowEnergyDrinks

  • Stone Dennison

    I believe some of us use social media and access to quick technology as a drug. We use it for a quick shot of dopamine in my opinion. We find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through social media everyday when we are bored and have nothing to do, and even when we are busy and in class. It seems to be an escape from reality, when it is nothing more than a waste of time. Social media gives us power to reach out to people and communicate in various ways. But, it seems to be keeping us from interacting with each other on a in person interactive level. It would not surprise me if depressed people used social and snapchat to mask their depression, as it is an escape from the reality they are in otherwise. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowSocialMedia

    • Owen Smith

      I couldn’t agree more. There a clear examples of all of these scenarios that can be seen on any given day. People constantly with their nose pressed against their phones, or prioritizing a Facebook stream as someone else speaks aimlessly to the back of their heads. Your relating of social media to a drug is very accurate, as it is very hard for people to stop once they have started. As previously stated, I heartily agree with everything you have stated here.
      #myCMSTArgs #DoNowSocialMedia


Derek Lartaud

Derek Lartaud came to the Bay Area after nearly five years of researching schizophrenia and diabetes at Yale University. Determined to tell visual stories, he’s worked for the BBC, Al Jazeera America, TIME, PBS, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. He has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a master’s degree in journalism. When not holding a camera or editing a story, he’s trying to rebuild his 1969 Honda CL350.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor