New Study Finds Instagram Is Seriously Damaging for Young People's Mental Health

According to a new study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, Instagram is ranked as the worst app for young people’s mental health. Their report dubbed #StatusofMind culled over 1,000 responses from individuals aged 14 to 24 on how social media sites affect body image, depression as well as anxiety. The results? Instagram alongside Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter were listed as having harmful effects, while on the other hand, YouTube was found to have positive impacts.

Instagram presumably compels people — especially women — to “compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality,” Matt Keracher, author of the report, told CNN. An anonymous female participant in the study added: “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.’”

To resolve the issue, the RSPH has reached out to these social media platforms and requested warning symbols on photos that have been manipulated. “We’re not asking these platforms to ban Photoshop or filters, but rather to let people know when images have been altered so that users don’t take the images on face value as real,” Keracher said. “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.”

Additionally, the report discovered that folks who spend over two hours per day on social media are more likely to encounter mental health issues such as psychological distress.