Many of us love to zone out by checking our phones and perusing social media as a way to relieve stress. It’s harmless fun, right? You scroll through, see what your friends are doing, and check out other interesting feeds. Well, it turns out it might not be as harmless as we think. According to a recent article on Teen Vogue‘s website, Instagram might be horrible for your mental health.
The article cites a CNN article that looked at a recent UK-based study of the emotional wellbeing of young people as they interact with social media apps. The audience of youths from 14-23 were surveyed on anxiety, depression, and body image, and results were pretty conclusive: Instagram was the app determined to be the most detrimental to mental health. The article contains this tell-tale quote:
“Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect,'” one survey respondent explained about the app, which was cited as having an adverse effect on anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, body image, bullying, and FOMO.
Although YouTube was deemed marginally better, it appears that social media does quite a number on one’s self-esteem, body image, and mental wellbeing. The article goes on to state that individuals who utilized social media frequently boasted a higher rate of anxiety and mental health concerns. Even though this study focused on teens and young adults, the same could probably be said for social media users of all ages.
The study has recommended that warnings be placed on digitally-enhanced images, but inevitably the only way to avoid social media anxiety and mental health concerns is to unplug and step away from your apps and digital devices. If you find yourself compulsively checking social media multiple times a day or if you start to feel poorly, perhaps go on a digital detox and give yourself a break. It could be great for your social life to get out into the real world, and it might just improve your mental health.