Social media apps that Americans use for entertainment, staying in contact with family and friends and passing the time may pose hazards for our mental health, according to an internal Facebook study about Instagram.
Dr. Lisa Batson, a psychiatrist with Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, says there has been an increase in conversations over the rise of social media apps and people who are comparing themselves to what they see online.
“People can post pictures, they can put filters that are funny and very innocent,” Batson said. “Others can be really altering the reality of what people look like, whether it be their body, whether it be their face.”
What You Need To Know
- According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook - the parent company of Instagram - conducted an internal study showing the use of the app among young people led to an increase in insecurities
- In the report, Facebook says 32% of teen girls said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse
- Dr. Lisa Batson says the long-term effects of social media can lead to prolonged anxiety and depression among other issues
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook — the parent company of Instagram — conducted an internal study showing the use of the app among young people led to an increase in insecurities and negativity about body image.
The journal obtained internal data meant for CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“No one posts, like, the burnt turkey from Thanksgiving, but it's always, like, this gorgeous turkey. So, like, no one's posting the bad stuff,” Batson said. “People kind of see that all the time and are like, 'Oh, my gosh, I have all the burned turkeys, why does this person have like the best turkey ever,' but really, they probably have a lot of burnt turkeys.”
In the report, Facebook says 32% of teen girls said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.
Facebook also says Instagram is the most influential platform due to its popularity among teenagers.
Batson said, “Girls tend to be more intentional about kind of, you know, looking at beauty, or kind of making comparisons and feeling insecure, inadequate.”
In a response to the reporting, the head of public policy for Instagram said the journal “focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light," and the company stands by the findings, adding it demonstrated their “commitment to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with.”
Batson said the long-term effects of social media can lead to prolonged anxiety and depression, among other issues, but says all social media is not a bad thing. It should, however, be used responsibly and in moderation, she said, adding that parents should be part of the solution and set limits on their teen's social media use.
“Your kid, if your kid can, you know, tolerate looking at other people's videos and know kind of what's attainable, what's not attainable, OK, great," Batson said. "I mean, they shouldn't still be on it all the time, but they might not be as much of an issue as somebody that's a little bit more insecure and more affected by that.”
Facebook was working on an Instagram for kids, but put a halt to it after the reports on the photo-sharing apps' impact on teen's mental health.