According to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the UK, the photo sharing app Instagram is worst and most detrimental social media platform for mental health of young people. The report based on the “#StatusofMind” study, which surveyed nearly 1500 young people – from age 14 to 24 – asked people how different types of social networks had on impact on wellbeing and health issues.
YouTube and Twitter the best apps
YouTube, according to the report, had the most positive impact on young people’s mental health with Twitter following it while Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram had negative impact on the mental health of people, causing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, etc.
The study which was released on Friday said that Instagram, which has over 700 million users across the world, was ranked first in terms of negative impact, most notably among the young women. In an interview to CNN, Matt Keracher, author of the report, said “Instagram draws young women to compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality.”
An anonymous female respondent said in the report, “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.’” The RSPH has asked the social media platforms to take action to tackle the problem in order to assist in fighting the feeling of anxiety and inadequacy among young users by placing a warning on pictures that have been manipulated digitally.
Here’s what the RSPH wants Instagram to do
Keracher said that they are not asking the social media platform to ban filters or Photoshop but instead allow people to know when the pictures (that they see on Instagram) have been manipulated (digitally) so that the users do not take the pictures on face value or as real. He added, “We really want to equip young people with the tools and the knowledge to be able to navigate social media platforms not only in a positive way but in a way that promotes good mental health.”
Education surrounding mental health issues in a digital age is an educational imperative for young people, said the popular professional health vlogger and YouTuber Laci Green, who has over 1.5 million subscribers. The social networking sites were ranked in following order under negative impact on people:
- Instagram (most negative impact)
- YouTube (the only streaming site with a positive net impact)
Ms. Green said, “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. Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual.”