Instagram and Self-Esteem
Since the rise of social media there have been many changes that have occurred between the way two people interact and even how someone interacts with themselves.
In a recent survey by Royal Society For Public Health and the Young Health Movement, Instagram ranked as the worst social media platform for ‘young people’s mental health.
“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,” states Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive RSPH on the RSPH website.
The survey was conducted on 1,500 people aged 14 to 24 from across the United Kingdom. The survey asked them to answer several well-being related issues and to rank five social media platforms based on whether they bring up positive or negative feelings. Instagram ranked the most negative out of the five.
Instagram is a platform that is based on sharing pictures. However, as many people find it, those pictures often depict a highly edited and manufactured version of reality.
According to Statista, Instagram had roughly 800 million monthly users in 2017 and the number is estimated to have only grown since then. With numbers like these it can seem like everyone has an Instagram and it can add to its feeling of importance.
For many young people, Instagram is a place where they scroll through countless pictures posted by their peers, celebrities, or the ‘Instafamous’. This can add to a person’s feelings of ‘FOMO’ which is one’s fear of missing out because they are seeing everyone else have fun through social media.
Young people are also heavily exposed to photoshopped pictures, which can add to feelings of insecurity and can mess with one’s body image.
A young person who is still in a very impressionable stage in their lives can be more likely to be affected by Instagram because they are essentially growing up with these false expectations what one should look like, or what life should be like.
There are so many filters and editing apps designed for creating ‘instagramable’ pictures which send a message to young people that everything needs to look perfect. The Instagram culture revolves around perfection and blurred out skin, however, life is hardly ever that glamourous for the average person.
That is why the Royal Society is calling for Instagram and other social media platforms to make some changes. They would like to see “pop-up warnings” letting their users know that the pictures and posts have been edited, so that people don’t look at them and walk away with a false idea or expectation of what one ‘should’ look like.