Feeling depressed lately? You may want to stay off social media. Instagram is the most damaging social media app when it comes to young people’s mental health, according to new research.
The photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook and currently has 700 million users worldwide, is the social media platform that’s most likely to cause depression, anxiety, and loneliness among young people, according to a U.K.-wide study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RPSH) released on Friday, May 19.
The survey via the Young Health Movement was conducted on 1,5000 people, ages 14 to 24. The RPSH discovered that their mental health plummeted when frequenting Instagram. It resulted in depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body image issues, and sleep problems.
Snapchat, the popular photo messaging app, was another close contender. It makes young people feel often left out or bullied by their peers.
Those aren’t the only social media platforms that are damaging to young people. Out of the five most popular forms of social media, Facebook and Twitter also arm young people’s mental health. YouTube was the only platform that had a “positive” effect on teens’ well-being, reports The Guardian.
Social media platforms with net negative impact:
“Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues,” RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said in a statement. “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.”
The RSPH is asking for social media companies to feature “heavy usage” warnings on their platforms. This will allow users to take a break after a certain amount of time. The organization also wants social media platforms to make a note when photos of people have been digitally altered or Photoshopped. They also want to identify users who are suffering from mental health problems based on their posts, and provide them support discreetly offline.
Facebook has been making changes. Back in March, they integrated its suicide-prevention tools into Facebook Live. If a user is watching a live broadcast where someone expresses suicidal thoughts, that user can report the video and discreetly get the person help. Last year, Facebook expanded its suicide-prevention tools to all languages supported by the social media platform.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid the trap of social media. Mental health, mindfulness, and positivity apps have been on the rise. A new app called Relieved helps those who are suffering from depression and anxiety. It’s a mental chat application that sufferers can download for free. It’s ideal for those who don’t have the money to seek counseling or therapy.
It’s the first depression chat and support community. It helps those who suffer from some of the following mental health problems:
- Postpartum depression
- Sadness and depression
- Bipolar disorder
- General loneliness
Here are the basic steps to using Relieved:
- Download the mental chat application for FREE
- Fill in your basic profile so everyone can learn about you
- Pattern lock: ensure your privacy and account security
- Private album: only those you allow them to access can see your private photos
- Use the “Spark” feature to connect with like-minded people. Swipe right to like a profile or swipe left if you want to pass a profile.
- Initiate conversation with people you like in our FREE chat message
- Moments: A great place to post what really matters to you
- Block user: you are in control of whom you connect with
No matter what the user is suffering from, they can download this app to seek the help they need. Think of it like Tinder but for mental health support.
You can also browse by age, gender, location, photos only, and ethnicity. Relieved is a safe and secure app to use. It ensures your privacy and account security.
You can choose to keep your photos private. You can give access to those you allow to view your albums. You also have control of whom you communicate with. If you feel uncomfortable with a user, then you can block them on the app.
Relieved is changing the scope of technology. If you’re feeling down, avoid social media. Instead, download the Relieved app and reach out to those who understand what you’re going through.
[Featured image by SanchaiRat/Shutterstock.com]