Instagram – The Worst Social Media Platform for Mental Health
Photoshop, filters, and perfect angles. This is modern social media life.
This focus on maximizing our looks can lead to plastic surgery, eating disorders, high levels of anxiety, depression, and bullying. And all from using Instagram?
A study by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health analyzed nearly 1,500 social media users, ages 14-24. They looked at how different social media platforms affected their mental and physical health.
Instagram negatively affected sleep quality, bullying, body image, and set unrealistic expectations leading to body image issues and low self-worth. This article might be the reason you should cut back on your Instagram use or at the very least, put it into perspective.
This year we have had some revelations. From the famous “Adobe Gains” in the fitness industry spurred by Insta-famous fitness “celebrity” Devin Physique being caught photoshopping his inspirational snapshots, to the proliferation of the overuse of filters and angles to make even the flattest butt seem supple.
Social media has changed society and for our own health and wellness. We need to analyze how we can utilize it for its benefits and lessen its negative effects.
“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’,“ said one study participant. That is the problem. In a fake world full of fake, enhanced pictures, “normal” people can be left feeling, well, inadequate.
This is where Instagram fails.
Is Instagram destroying your mental health?
How many times do you even see a girl from the front anymore? At least on my feed, girls usually stand with their rear ends facing the camera and look back at it with their legs positioned to make their butts look as big as possible.
Then, they might even Photoshop it further… If their butt isn’t surgically enhanced in the first place. Then the girl going to the gym daily sees this and gets depressed because all the squats in the world aren’t going to get to that level.
The Royal Society is actually asking the social media platforms to enact a pop-up “heavy usage” warning within these apps or website. While I feel this is silly, 71% of those surveyed said they would support this.
But like the warning on the cigarette box, I highly doubt it will help these statistics. A disclaimer will not negate the site of a perfect body in a dream world.
People only show us what they want us to see on social media. Imagine if you only took your best moments and put them in one place, it would look pretty epic, right? Welcome to Instagram!
To help with this, Instagram has instituted a way to flag posts, and this can be used to flag digitally manipulated posts. In my opinion, this is silly as well. Once these fakers are outed on social media, it will be the end of them.
For example, there is question of one Instagram “athlete” using fake weights. I personally called him out for a charity event to benefit the Semper Fi Fund and he didn’t reply. So not only is he outed, but we are putting on the “Real Weights For Real Heroes” on August 19, 2017.
For more information on this event, click here. Please make an effort to attend, or at the very least donate.
The Royal Society hopes to empower young adults to use social networks “in a way that protects and promotes their health and wellbeing.” As someone with children, I am going to educate them on the dangers of social media, both from predators and from unrealistic expectations of oneself.
And for me, I will present ME, the real me, and be proud of the skin I am in.
This is a new reality that can be positive, we just need to identify the fakers and set realistic expectations. Instagram is a fantasy world so just as we watch fairy tales and know they aren’t real, we can look at our Instagram feed and know, it is simply a fantasy.