A new report called #StatusOfMind has examined the negative – and positive – effects of social media on the health of our youth. YouTube is the best platform; Instagram is the worst.
1,500 people between the ages of 14 and 24 took part in the research which examined young peoples’ identity, depression, and anxiety as it relates to social media. The negative aspects of Instagram were harder on girls.
Matt Keracher, the study author, explains that’s due in part to the manipulation aspect of Instagram– literally and curatively – asking young women to contrast their own lives and bodies with “unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality.”
That’s the down side. On the upside, he points out that Instagram can help forge identity and self-expression.
Length of time on social media is important: those who spend 2+ hours on such sites per day are more likely to have poor mental health.
What to do? One recommendation is to post a warning on digitally altered images – “what you’re looking at is not reality!”
Another is to have alerts pop-up when young people spend too much time on one app.