Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, can You Make Money Off Instagram to a recent survey of almost 1,500 teens and young adults. Twitter came in second, followed by Facebook and then Snapchat—with Instagram bringing up the rear. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. From February through May of this year, people answered questions about how different social media platforms impacted 14 different issues related to their mental or physical health. There were certainly some benefits associated with social networking. All of the sites received positive scores for self-identity, self-expression, community building and emotional support, for example.
TIME Health Newsletter Get the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips. But they all received negative marks, as well—especially for sleep quality, bullying, body image and FOMO. Previous studies have suggested that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites are more likely to report psychological distress. Social media posts can also set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, the authors wrote. This may explain why Instagram, where personal photos take center stage, received the worst scores for body image and anxiety. Other research has found that the more social networks a young adult uses, the more likely he or she is to report depression and anxiety.
Trying to navigate between different norms and friend networks on various platforms could be to blame, study authors say—although it’s also possible that people with poor mental health are drawn to multiple social-media platforms in the first place. To reduce the harmful effects of social media on children and young adults, the Royal Society is calling for social media companies to make changes. It also recommends that companies find a way to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated, as well as identify and offer help to users who could be suffering from mental health problems. A feature rolled out on Instagram last year allowing users to anonymously flag troublesome posts. The government can also help, the report states. Social media isn’t going away soon, nor should it. We must be ready to nurture the innovation that the future holds.
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