Instagram Is Ranked Worst Social Media Site For Mental Health

Posted: May 22 2017, 2:31pm CDT | by , Updated: May 22 2017, 10:19pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Instagram is Ranked Worst Social Media Site for Mental Health
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YouTube was found to have the most positive impact, UK-based report reveals

Instagram is the worst social medial platform when it comes to young people’s mental health, a new report suggests.

The report published by UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM) evaluates the positive and negative effects of different social networking sites on youngsters’ mind and rate them according to the public input.

YouTube was found to have the most positive impact while Instagram came out as the most detrimental social networking site for young people’s mental health, followed closely by Snapchat.

Instagram – the photo and video app – has gained enormous popularity in recent years. The site now has 700 million monthly users and it is growing faster than ever before.

“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,” said RSPH chief executive of Shirley Cramer.

“Through our Young Health Movement, young people have told us that social media has had both a positive and negative impact on their mental health. It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

In early 2017, researchers conducted a survey to determine how social media is impacting the mental health of youth and asked participants to score each social media platform with respect to 14 health and wellbeing-related issues. The survey involved around 1500 young people aged 14 to 24 from across the UK.

The results showed that Instagram had the most negative consequences on people's body image, self identity, loneliness, sleep, anxiety and many other issues. When we look at Instagram, we see an almost perfect life. This perfect life is shaped by edits and Photoshopping and it is the one thing we often overlook.

“Social media has dramatically shifted how we socialize, communicate, and form relationships with each other. Its impact cannot be understated. As we navigate these new digital spaces that have so much to offer, we must be having a conversation about how it can affect our mental health," said Laci Green, professional health YouTuber. "Because platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of the .people we know and the world around us, it is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted.”

Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter also demonstrated negative impact. YouTube was the only social media platform to have largely positive effect on mental health.

Social networking sites are good for keeping in touch with friends and family but the government and companies should find ways to reduce potential negative effects of these sites on mental health, while promoting positives.

"As the evidence grows that there may be potential harms from heavy use of social media, and as we upgrade the status of mental health within society, it is important that we have checks and balances in place to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young people’s mental health and wellbeing," said Shirley Cramer. "We want to promote and encourage the many positive aspects of networking platforms and avoid a situation that leads to social media psychosis which may blight the lives of our young people.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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