Instagram worsens “the problems of body representation for one in three teenage girls,” reports the American daily, which revealed confidential documents from the social network.
Teens blame Instagram for increased anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts, the survey said, noting that the majority of young users would like to spend less time on the app, but they lack “the will to actually do it”.
Facebook data scientists concluded that some of the issues, such as “social comparison”, were specific to Instagram and not replicated by other platforms. Facebook’s internal findings echo a number of studies that implicate social media in an epidemic of mental health issues among young people.
In 2017, YoungMinds and the Royal Society for Public Health published research naming Instagram as having the most negative impact on the mental well-being of young people of all social networks. Emma Thomas, chief executive of the charity YoungMinds, said that while social media can be good, it also comes with increased pressure.
Being surrounded by constant images of the perfect life and seemingly perfect bodies can also have a big impact on how you feel about your own life and how you look, “and it’s hard not to compare yourself to others,” he said. Thomas said.
In response to this controversy, Instagram’s public policy manager Karina Newto said that “problems like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the real world, so they will also exist on social media.” , adding that “it doesn’t change the fact that we take these results seriously, and we’ve put in a specific effort to respond to this research and change Instagram for the better.”