The Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K have announced Instagram to be the worst social media platform for young people’s mental health.
The #StatusofMind survey asked nearly 1,500 young people in the U.K between the ages of 14 and 24 to rate how different forms of social media affected their mental health.Source: PicJumbo
Those surveyed revealed how Instagram in particular hurt their body image and also increased bullying and “fear of missing out.”
Snapchat came in at number two, but received better scores than Instagram in terms of loneliness.
‘Fear of missing out’ or FOMO can be a real issue for young people, with the study pointing out those who spent two, or more hours per day on social media sites experienced an increase in poor mental health, and expressed symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The report also revealed users constantly seeing pictures of friends doing fun things promoted feelings of a “compare and despair” attitude.
The study found that Instagram promoted poor body images among young women in particular.
The study wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Many users revealed social media to be a great outlet for self expression and self-identity.
The social media platform with the most positive results was YouTube, with Twitter coming in second.
Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH said, “Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol…It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well being – both platforms are very image focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”
The Royal Society for Public Health recommended the introduction of pop-ups on social media sites to warn people of heavy usage, revealing “The platforms that are supposed to help young people connect with each other may actually be fueling a mental health crisis.”