Social networking platforms has made communication a lot easier. It also has a detrimental effect on young people’s mental health, according to a report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. The aptly titled study, #StatusofMind, found that Instagram was the platform most detrimental to the mental health of young people. The researchers polled 1,500 aged 14-24. They wanted to know how social media platforms impact overall health and other issues such as depression and self-identity. Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter followed Instagram as most detrimental to health. The researchers concluded that Instagram, with over 700 million users, drew young people to “compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality. Surprisingly YouTube was found to have the most positive impact.
The results of the report have led to calls for education on mental health in a digital age for students, who form one of the largest contingents on the aforementioned platforms. In the report, the authors made a few recommendations such as introducing a pop-up warning to alert users they have been online for too long. This particular recommendation seemed popular with participants as seven in 10 said they would support the pop-up alert.