Instagram is the worst social media for mental health-know why?
Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking portal that allows users to post pictures, change them, and share them on Facebook and Twitter but it is not devoid of ill-effects.
A survey conducted less than a year back on 1500 teens and adults regarding Instagram showed that it is the worst amongst the various social media platforms for mental health. So what were the findings of this survey and are there any more pointers to this conclusion of this study?
Let try to dissect out the facts.
Instagram and young mental health
The above study revealed that Instagram was good as regards self-expression and self-identity for the people who post the pictures but it is associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.”
There were 5 social media platforms that were compared and analyzed-Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. When it came to health and well-being, the platform which was rated the highest was YouTube and this was followed by Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in that order. Instagram fared the worst.
This survey was the #StatusOfMind survey, published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health. The age group chosen was 14-24 and the participants were from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The benefits of social media were definitely there but few. Social networking was found to be good for self-identity, self-expression, community building, and emotional support.
YouTube was reported to have additional benefits such as awareness of other people’s health experiences, providing access to trustworthy health information, and decreasing respondents’ levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
There were negative marks for sleep quality, bullying, and body image. Apart from YouTube, the other 4 platforms also caused an increase in depression and anxiety.
How Instagram causes mental disorders?
The report said:
“Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make young people feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life, These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude.”
This is especially true if a person spends more than 2 hours on the Instagram site. Feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem erupt in the person who is browsing the site and leads to unrealistic expectations.
One of the respondents in the survey had said:
“Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’.”
People get hooked on it and the chances of addiction are also high. It is also highly likely that people with poor mental health are drawn to these sites in the first place.
So what is the solution?
The sites are not going away and hence safe social media use is advocated. The websites can have a pop-up ‘heavy usage’ warning when a specified limit of usage of that site is reached. Also, it could be notified when pictures are digitally changed. Help for those with poor mental health is also recommended.
Do not be surprised to know that Instagram is banned in mainland China, though Hong Kong and Macau continue to have it.