The almost uninterrupted use of social media has led to body issues, low self-esteem and mental health issues for teenagers, according to a recent study. Social media is a highlight reel, where users share usually flattering videos and photos.
According to a study conducted by The Wall Street Journal, 40% of teens said their sole purpose for posting on social media is to look good to other people, while 32% of teenage girls felt that Instagram only worsened their body insecurities.
A study done by Psychiatry Online corroborate the WSJ, stating that mental health issues among adolescents rose in the early 2010s. From anxiety to depression, mental stability took its hit due to the increase use of social media. The effect has permeated to present day.
One expert is now warning that the "alarming trends" could persist if more isn’t done to reverse them.
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With the increase use in Instagram, teenagers are exposed to become victims of online harassment, depression, loss of sleep and depression.
In EClinical Medicine’s most recent study, which is published by renowned medical journal The Lancet, observers took note of a study done by the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). The MCS is a U.K. representative study of children born into 19,244 families between September 2000 and January 2002.
The study surveyed 14-year-old boys and girls and found that 78% of girls were dissatisfied with their body weight due to social media usage. Despite issues with body image, 87% of girls and 91% of boys continued to have high self-esteem.
Instagram’s head of policy, Karina Newton, has accepted the research and plans to continue the company’s effort “to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with.”
Because Instagram is the second most used social media platform, behind its parent company Facebook, it holds a responsibility to appease the user experience as much as possible. Newton said it is their job to make people feel good when they use the app.
While the use of social media has increased detriments to mental health, some have taken preventative measures to combat the risks. WSJ reports that four in 10 teens said they unfollowed and unfriended other users due to bullying.