A recent survey conducted by The Royal Society for Public Health and the charity Young Health Movement in the UK has revealed Instagram as the social media platform having the most detrimental effect on young people’s mental health. The survey took place in early 2017 with 1500 participants ranging between the ages of 14 to 24. The survey asked young people to score how different social media sites (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) had an affect on a list of fourteen health and wellbeing issues from anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, bullying and fear of missing out. The recent article by The Independent states “Instagram was listed as having the most negative effect. The photo-uploading platform was found to harm perceptions of body image, increase the fear of missing out and have a detrimental effect on sleep. The platform ranked more favourably in the areas of self-expression, self-identity and community building.”
SOCIAL MEDIA AND ME
Instagram – I am very aware about the content I post and take a great deal in questioning how it will be received, whether it’s the photos or the caption that I am sharing. This does and has taken away the ‘real-time’ aspect and the ease in navigating social media. On the other hand, I try to follow as less people as I can on Instagram and try to make sure that I follow people that are sharing meaningful content and not just lavish lifestyle updates. I enjoy Instagram the most behind Facebook and I believe a large part of that is because it lets me follow and get a glimpse into the life of the celebrities that I religiously follow and admire (mainly Hollywood celebrities).
Snapchat – I joined Snapchat very late and rarely post many snaps. Personally, I do not find my life that exciting to be sharing daily updates of. I believe it can add unnecessary pressure to have an eventful day or a busy lifestyle especially if the other people you follow have that. Whenever I do post snaps, it’s mainly of me in a room lip-syncing to Britney Spears or just infrequent snaps when I am outdoors. As I am not effective when it comes to live-updates I mostly forget about snapchatting when I am out and about.
Facebook – I love Facebook as at the end of the day, it’s the place where I get to see what is trending, what people are reading and watching. I enjoy seeing updates of friends, whether it’s family photos, holiday photos, relationship or their new luxury purchase etc, however certain motivational statuses or posters and captions have irked me in the past. I feel that everyone, including myself, am at a different point in my life and we have our own pace and long-term plans and reading such posts indirectly add pressure. It has made me compare myself to others and at times, there’s a want to shut yourself down or in the case of Facebook, to deactivate my profile.
YouTube – I used to love YouTube. Especially when I used to make YouTube videos back in 2007-8. To me it was a platform to express yourself and no matter how people resisted what I expressed, it helped me to become a stronger person. I watch a lot of different videos on YouTube, mainly interviews, travel videos and videos that focus around few people that I follow.
Lastly, how you do social media is hugely influenced by who you follow and who you have on your list of friends. For some it’s fun to be a different person online, to project a life or a lifestyle that’s far beyond your reality but personally for me, at times it’s a struggle to manage expectations. In a way you’re not accessible but at the same time, you’re super accessible. Having a core group of friends in reality is so important and spending more time on friendship and with a different variety of people in reality is far more important.
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