The #StatusOfMind campaigned organized by the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement found Instagram is the worst social media platform currently popular among young adults. Snapchat followed shortly. On the other side of the list lied YouTube, the most positive website in the online environment.
Instagram and Snapchat Promote Superficiality
The study found 91 percent of young adults with aged 16 to 24 use the internet for social networking. In the meantime, depression and anxiety rates have increased by a staggering 70 percent in the last 25 years. Social media was linked to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and poor quality of sleep.
Why is Instagram the worst social media platform out there? Because, like its main rival, Snapchat, it promotes superficiality. Users are encouraged to compare their beauty, wealth, and activities with those of their friends. The more beautiful – or skilled in digital manipulation – a user is, the more “likes” they will receive.
By constantly trying to compare themselves with others, people get anxious and depressed, evaluating themselves according to the online personas of their acquaintances.
Can the Adverse Effects Be Minimized?
The authors of the study proposed a number of solutions that could counteract the negative effect of social media platforms. For example, a pop-up warning that would include several links to support communities could make users feel less alone.
Other suggestions include an obligatory tag to tell if a picture was digitally manipulated or not and a well-designed detection system that could identify social media users that suffer from mental health problems, especially depression or suicidal tendencies.
On the long-run, a pop-up and a “digitally manipulated” label can do a lot of good, especially since female young adults tend to feel more depressed after stumbling upon pictures of women meeting the “ideal beauty” standards.
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