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How is Instagram Affecting the Mental Health of Young People?

Considered the worst social network for mental health of young people, says research.

Instagram has increasingly acquired users from around the world that every minute is several postings from all countries and cities. Regardless of religion, color, social class or sex people are being part of a “perfect” world. Nowadays the Instagram with with 700 million active users, more than 40 billion photos shared.

The number of active users per day also keeps Instagram ahead of rival Snapchat, which in August said it has 173 million active users daily.

It is considered to be the worst social network in terms of its impact on young people’s mental health, according to a UK study.

In the poll, 1,479 people aged 14 to 24 evaluated popular applications on issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image.

Mental health organizations have urged companies that keep applications to increase user safety.

In response, Instagram said that one of its top priorities is to keep the platform as a “safe and supportive” place for young people.

The study, from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in Britain, suggests that the platforms warn, through a pop-up, whenever there is excessive use of social networks, and that identify users with mental health problems.

Instagram says it offers tools and information on how to deal with bullying and warns users about specific content on some pages.

The survey stated that “social networks may be fueling a mental health crisis” among young people.

However, it can also be used for good, according to the study. Instagram, for example, had a positive effect in terms of self-expression and self-identity, according to the survey.

About 90% of young people use social networks – more than any other age group – which makes them especially vulnerable to their effects, although it is not clear what they are at the moment.

Image-based applications ranked the worst in the survey, especially among female youth. “Instagram makes young women compare to unrealistic, filtered, and photoshopped versions of reality,” said Matt Keracher, author of the report. For Dora Sampaio Góes, a collaborating psychologist at the Group of Technological Dependencies of the Institute of Psychiatry of HC, the data is not surprising. “They are platforms where everything is beautiful. Many girls admire fashion bloggers, who have the perfect body, beautiful clothes, go to the coolest places. What many people forget, and especially the young, is that the photo is an instant of the person’s life and not a representative part of their daily life, “comments the specialist.
In addition to problems related to mental health such as anxiety and depression, impacts on quality and time of sleep is one of the symptoms of technological dependence.

Instagram negatively affects body image, sleep patterns, and creates a feeling of “Fomo” – the “fear of missing out” – the application has proved positive in terms of self-expression and self-identity for many users.

 Digital Detox

To address the problem, the Royal Society for Public Health called on social networks themselves to take action to help address the feelings of inadequacy and anxiety of young users by placing a warning on images that have been digitally manipulated. “We are not asking for these platforms to prohibit changing images or filters, but rather to inform people when images have been changed so users do not take the images as real,” Keracher said. “We really want to equip young people with the tools and knowledge to navigate social media platforms, not only in a positive way, but in a way that promotes good mental health,” he added.

Written by Fuzzable

This content has been created by a Fuzzable staff member. We post the latest news and features for you to read every day.

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