As a particularly visual medium, Instagram is particularly dangerous for teens, as we’ve known for some time that social media may be harmful to them, especially young women. Researchers have been studying the instagram’s negative effects on young women for years and have long understood its negative impact.
Depressive symptoms, self-esteem, general and physical appearance anxiety, and body dissatisfaction were all linked to the frequency of Instagram use. Instagram owner Facebook is aware of the teen mental health crisis—and they’ve been deliberately downplaying it, according to an explosive Wall Street Journal article.
Data scientists, marketers, and developers working for Facebook have been studying how the app affects young people for the past three years. After all, Instagram has more than 40 percent of its users under the age of 22, and the site estimates that roughly 22 million youngsters use the platform everyday.
Researchers found that 32% of teen girls indicated that Instagram made them feel worse when they felt lousy about their bodies in a March 2020 study. As a result of Instagram’s comparison features, many young women’s self-perceptions are being permanently altered.
New York’s Wall Street Journal has discovered a number of disturbing findings in internal documents.
- More than one in three teen females are experiencing an increase in their body image concerns.
- Instagram has been blamed by teenagers for a rise in anxiety and sadness. This was a universal and unprompted response.
- Compared to TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram is an inferior platform for social comparison.
- Algorithm-curated content on the Explore page directs people to content that may be problematic.
- The app is blamed by more than 40% of those who say they’ve felt “unattractive” on Instagram.
- People’s moods were worsened by seeing or sharing filtered selfies on Instagram.
- According to March 2020 internal study, kids are “spiraling toward eating disorders, an unhealthy perception of their own bodies, and melancholy” because Instagram is designed to share “just the greatest moments” and create “pressure to look perfect.”
- Facebook’s research finds that 14 percent of guys in the United States say Instagram makes them feel less confident. 40% of adolescent males had an unfavorable social comparison experience.
Although Facebook is presently working on an Instagram version for youngsters under the age of 13, it appears to have downplayed these detrimental consequences. We’ve seen data showing that connecting with others via social apps can be beneficial to one’s mental health.
Following the publication of the WSJ article, Instagram’s head of public policy Karina Newton wrote a blog post in which she stated that the business is looking into ways to get users to stop spending so much time on Instagram postings of a particular type.
However, for many parents and legislators, these initiatives are too little, too late.
For the past many years, Facebook has been failing to adequately protect youngsters on Instagram, particularly those under 18, according to internal documents obtained by The Verge. If Facebook can’t be trusted to keep their present home in order, they have no business creating new social media sites specifically for our children.
Furthermore, Facebook’s refusal to reveal its comprehensive internal research on how its users are affected on its platforms is a major issue. Independent researchers are unable to adequately document the harm users encounter because they lack total data access. This must be rectified.
Helpful related articles: 7 Things You Don’t Want Your Children to Post on Social Media, Things to Know Before Posting Pictures of Your Kid, 7 Tips for Preparing Children for Online and Blended Learning