How’s Your Mental Health? Instagram is the highest risk social media platform

You may be a social media mammoth, literally on every platform just skipping from one to the other throughout the day with the flick of your finger.

Do you post or are you a lurker? When you do post do you alter the image? Do you use effects to make the image look better than it really is? I bet you do.

Even if it is a tilt of the head, using better light or pouting to show your cheek bones better.

It seems social media these days has drifted from the said (typed) word to an image. An image says so much more.

Hence why Instagram says it has more than 600 million active monthly users.

However, it is said that Instagram in particular can place the user/observer at a mental health risk.

Health groups are claiming that it can increase feelings of loneliness, depression and body image anxiety.

Is it any wonder when there are many apps available for the iPhone and Android devices which can essentially airbrush posted images?

air brush apps to enhance body image

This is not just for amateurs like me and you. No, even the best and most highly regarded fitness ‘athletes’ are more than prone to altering images.

Who could ever forget the Devin Physique fiasco? He was the most popular of the Shredz athletes who was caught for massively altering his images on Instagram.

With characters like this steamrolling around and making money from people through what is essentially pure dishonesty, how is it going to make you feel? Myself feel? Or that guy or girl just trying to get in to fitness?

These unobtainable goals are clearly part of the issues the health groups are warning us about.

What’s wrong?

The Royal Society for Public Health (UK) announced that following research of nearly 1500 people between the ages of 14 and 24 Instagram can have a harmful and negative impact on users. It can increase feelings of depression not to mention body image anxiety and loneliness.

The research asked the participants to score each social media platform on their effect for health and well being.

Those who responded were asked to consider a number of key issues such as bullying, image, community, expressions, depression, sleep, anxiety and emotional support.

The results showed that Instagram was seen in a more negative light than even Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter.

It seems Instagram has a negative impact on sleep, body image, fear of missing out (who doesn’t get that?!), bullying, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

On the other hand, YouTube only really scored badly for its effect on sleep. That’s a lot of cat videos!

Snap chat fared little better than Instagram in the negative stakes of mental health and well being.

Is this a surprise considering its image based content? It seems not, it seems that they are the propulsion behind feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Solution?

Is there a solution per se?

It is clear that as we have been thrown rapidly in to the digital age whereby we can connect with a global audience like never before with its positives can come a world of negatives.

It is important that we can try and implement policies and a strategy to help protect the mental health of young people.

What may have been jealousy or school yard bullying due to a pair of sneakers has now exploded to anonymous taunts and subject to often altered images of bodies and untold wealth.

The wild west has gotten bigger and less tamable.

It may seem laughable to some that a picture of someone wearing luxury clothing, driving a luxury car or having that six pack can lead to feelings of insecurity, especially if the clothes are borrowed, the car leased and the six pack generated from an app.

However, this is the newly digitized world that we are exposed to.

The fiction often overrides the fact.

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