Mental health awareness is a very important topic, and as is turns out, very connected to social media. A study done by London’s Royal Society for Public Health for the Young Health Movement has revealed that Instagram can be detrimental to your well being.
According to PC Mag, the organization surveyed 1,500 people between ages fourteen and twenty-four, asking them to score how each of the most popular social media platforms impacted their feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety, their sleep, body image, real-world relationships, and more. And as it turned out, in the race between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube, only YouTube had a “net positive” impact on young people. Instagram scored the lowest, with Snapchat not far off.
“Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues,” RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said in a statement. “It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well being — both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”
So if these sites are so addicting and impossible to get rid of, what can we do to make them safer? The RSPH suggests these companies to introduce “heavy usage” warnings that encourage users to take breaks after a certain period of time. Likewise, these companies could highlight digitally manipulated photos to debunk unrealistic body images, as well as identify users who might be suffering from mental health problems, and privately offer them support.