It’s a digital world and undoubtedly, social media has become an inseparable part of one’s everyday life. While life seems incomplete without mobile phones and tablets equipped with apps and instant access to social media platforms, a recent report titled #StatusOfMind, published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM), states that Instagram can prove detrimental to an individual’s mental health. The next on the list are Snapchat followed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The survey was conducted on nearly 1,500 people aged 14-24 in the UK who were asked to share how various social media platforms affected different aspects of their mental health. These were related to social media usage and its impact on 14 different health and wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, bullying and ‘FoMo’ (Fear of Missing Out).
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH said, “It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”
On the basis of the inputs collected from the social media users, following are few of the study findings:
- Instagram was rated as the social media platform that had the most deteriorating effect on an individual’s mental health. It made the users feel bad about their body image, increased their FOMO and also had a detrimental effect on their sleep. However, it also ranked high in allowing users a platform for self-expression, self-identity and community building.
- Snapchat was rated as the second-worst platform causing negative effects on an individual’s mental health, due to factors like FOMO and cyberbullying. However, the platform was rated positively for allowing self-expression.
- Although, Facebook was found to be the third-worst on the list, due to its harmful effects on one’s sleep and easy bullying, the platform ranked high for offering emotional support and community building.
- Twitter was found to have effects that are similar to Facebook. While it was found to have negative effects on an individual’s sleep, the platform was ranked positively for allowing self-expression.
- YouTube was ranked as the only platform that largely had positive effects on one’s mental health, such as raising awareness, community building and self-expression. The platform’s only negative effect was found to be on one’s sleep.
Officials from Instagram said that keeping Instagram safe and supportive for its users was their utmost priority. Michelle Napchan, Instagram’s EMEA head of policy, said that the platform is used by many to share their mental health journey and get support from the community. It is their aim to make help readily available for those struggling with mental health issues at whatever place and time the need be.
The RSPH has come up with some recommendations to tackle mental health issues arising from the use of social media based on the results of the study. It has suggested the introduction of a pop-up alert for users stating that they have been using the platform for quite long. Although the recommendation was supported by seven in 10 young people who participated in the survey, it was not concluded whether this would be an adequate solution.
Treating mental illnesses
Overindulging in any form of gadget and technology is harmful to one’s mental health. Therefore, one should be careful and monitor his/her usage of these devices as well as platforms.
If you or someone you love is dealing with any form of mental illness or anxiety disorder and is looking for assistance, Sovereign Health can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 to get information about anxiety disorders treatment in California. You can also chat online with one of our experts who can help you connect with the best anxiety treatment centers in California.