Instagram is officially the worst app for your mental wellbeing

Woman checking cell phone (h)

A new study has revealed the ‘gram isn’t great for overall wellbeing, but it does have some positives

We’ve known for a while that spending too much time on social media can have an effect on mental health, but new research has revealed how each platform ranks in terms of overall impact on its users.

A British study surveyed close to 1,500 people aged between 14 and 24 on which social media platforms they used and how they were affected. The respondents were asked to rate each site on a range of issues including anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image.

The results of the online survey revealed Instagram rated the most negatively on a range of measures including impact on sleep, body image, FOMO, bullying, and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. Yikes!

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The ‘gram did better in other areas though such as self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

Snapchat ranked second worst for its impact on mental health, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube was considered the most positive with high scores in categories like awareness, empathy towards others health, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “It is interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well-being – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

The study called for changes to be made to increase social media mental health safety. These include warning pop-up flagging heavy use; social media site identifying users with mental health problems and discreetly signposting support, and highlighting when photos have been digitally altered.

If you’re feeling concerned about any of the issues we’ve raised and would like to talk to someone – wherever you are in New Zealand – you can phone Lifeline: 0800 376 633. It’s free and 100% confidential.
This article first appeared on NowToLove.co.nz.
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Photo: Getty Images