In a survey by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement, Instagram ranked as the most damaging social network to young people, giving users feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.
The survey, called #StatusOfMind, included about 1,500 14- to 24-year olds and gave the five most popular social networks rankings based on average scores by the group.
The group was asked to score each social media platform based on 14 health and wellbeing issues. Youtube was the only network to have a positive impact out of the five.
In order after Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter filled out the rest of the list, all giving users an increase in anxiety. The report says that the visual nature of Instagram and Snapchat is the reason why they were so harmful.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH, explained. “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 report estimates that one in six young people will experience an anxiety disorder at one point in their lives, and rates of depression and anxiety increased 70 percent over the past 25 years.