According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, teenagers using Instagram have an increased risk of developing body image disorders. An unhealthy body image can lead to depression, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts. The company’s Explore page, which serves curated content, can lead users to potentially harmful material. Adverse mental health consequences as a result of Instagram may be more widespread than it seems, as the social media site continues to expand its young user base.
Studies Show That Social Media Addiction Can Affect A Person’s Mental Health
Fortunately, Instagram has taken steps to limit the number of likes on user profiles. In an attempt to curb comparisons and hurt feelings, the platform suppressed likes last year. The purpose of this action is to stop the negative effects of social media like Instagram from affecting a person’s mental health. Yet, the social media platform’s reinforcing nature can cause a wide range of mental and physical disorders.
The adverse mental health consequences associated with Instagram use may be even greater for female teens. One study found that female teens who regularly browse Instagram are more likely to be socially isolated than their male counterparts. While male adolescents are less likely to express aggression in relational relationships, women are more likely to engage in cyberbullying on social media. Another harmful consequence of social media use is lack of sleep. According to the Journal of Youth Studies, nearly one in five teenagers wake up to check their accounts.
Researchers at Facebook and Instagram have long struggled to limit Instagram’s negative effects on mental health. Instagram has even experimented with hiding “likes” in a way that would minimize the negative effects for users. However, this measure was ultimately not implemented. Despite this, the social interaction and resulting anxiety are still present. In fact, the “like” count has been found to affect the self-esteem of young people in focus groups, and the data from these studies are still preliminary.