Purpose To determine the relationship between social media usage characteristics and alexithymia in nursing students. Design and methods The study was conducted with 272 nursing students between November and December 2018 in Turkey. Data were collected using an information form to determine the sociodemographic and social media usage characteristics of the students, and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. Findings According to the results of this study, nursing students use Instagram the most. As time spent on social media increases, the alexithymia score increases and students have difficulty recognizing their feelings. Practice implications As the use of social media by nursing students affects their mental process and behavior patterns, the results of social media applications, which witness a wide range of feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, should be included in the nursing curriculum.