Study confirms Instagram has a negative impact on mental health

Phones down.

A comprehensive study has been released this week, ranking social media platforms on their impact on young people’s mental health. And Instagram has come out as the worst.

The UK’s Royal Society of Public Health and Young Health Movement surveyed 1500 people aged between 14 to 24 on the effects five social media platforms have on their mental wellbeing. 

Participants reported Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter (in that order) were worsening bullying, body image anxiety and feelings of depression and loneliness.

In fact, half of the respondents reported Instagram and Facebook exacerbated feelings of anxiety, and seven in 10 said Instagram made them feel worse about their body.

YouTube came out as the best social platform for wellbeing, as it provided “awareness and understanding of other people’s health experiences.” Results showed YouTube did have a negative impact on sleep, however.

RSPH and Young Health Movement are now calling for social media platforms to watermark images that have been digitally manipulated and to implement a pop-up notification, designed to tell you when you’ve spent a certain amount of time online.

They are also calling for the platforms to identify users who could be suffering mental health issues (based on their content) and discreetly provide information for support.

You can download the full Status of Mind report here.

Illustration by Twylamae.

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