Social media addiction–it sounds far out, something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s not. Social media addiction is becoming a clearer and more common reality than ever expected. Parents may have to begin questioning the amount of freedom and unsupervised use their children to have with social media.
A recent study looked into the different social media platforms and their effects on the brain–and distressingly enough, one of the most popular ones was found to be the most harmful.
The popular social media platform is the most harmful
A new study conducted by RSPH and the Young Health Movement looked into the positive and negative effects social media has on young people. #StatusOfMind, the name of the study, discovered that Instagram topped the list as being the most harmful to young people’s mental health. YouTube, on the other hand, was the most positive.
The study looked at nearly 1,500 youth, ages 14 to 24. It examined social media’s effects on issues such as anxiety, depression, social media addiction, body image, and self-identity.
The results are distressing because Instagram has over 700 million users worldwide. It’s one of the most popular platforms for young people today–and know we know it has negative effects, especially for young girls.
This is because the app is based on photos and those photos are mostly altered in unrealistic ways. It’s an app that’s driven by the approval of others on photos that usually don’t even depict reality. Young girls often compare themselves to these photos even though they’re not realistic. This can cause serious mental health setbacks.
While the researchers agree that it’s not realistic to “ban” filters or photoshop, they are pushing for these platforms to step up and work out a way to let people know an image isn’t showing reality. This would allow young people to see that they’re comparing themselves to something that’s no more real than a fairytale.
It’s been shown that teens can become attached and obsessed with social media in extremely unhealthy ways–like social media addiction. As long as society continues to ignore the negative effects social media can cause, nothing will change. We need to teach our children how to use social media in healthy, positive ways that help them connect with others–not degrade their sense of self-worth.
If you believe your daughter is struggling with social media addiction or another mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.