Instagram Social media app rated worst for mental health of young people

With many social media options, small businesses need focus

A United Kingdom survey has suggested that Instagram is the worst social media platform in relation to its impact on the mental health of young people.

They were asked to score how each social media site impacted a list of 14 health and wellbeing issues including anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, bullying and "FoMo" (Fear of Missing Out).

While YouTube tops a league table as the most positive social media platform, Instagram and Snapchat are perceived as the most detrimental.

Instagram's website says it has more than 600 million active monthly users.

However, there is still a note of caution, with compliance being at the forefront of many pharmaceutical companies' minds, and, while the industry is starting to embrace social media and build on the many opportunities that it affords them, without clear finalized regulatory guidance, remaining compliant will continue to be main challenge facing the industry.

Recommendations from the report included social media platforms discreetly signposting help to those potentially suffering from mental health issues.

Health experts are suggesting social media-giants implement a few simply tips and tricks to ensure they work towards preserving the mental wellbeing of young people. On the other hand, the #StatusofMind survey found that the photo-sharing platform was positive in terms of self-identity and self-expression, notes the Telegraph.

Young Minds, the charity which Theresa May visited last week on a campaign stop, backed the call for Instagram and other platforms to take further steps to protect young users. "Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual".

The online survey asked participants a series of questions about whether YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter had an impact on their health and well-being.

A health crisis or an educational opportunity?

She added: "As adults we need to portray and model better uses of social media and that sometimes means putting up photos where we don't look our best and being honest about our lives".

The idea, she concluded, is to promote and encourage the many positive aspects of networking platforms and avoid a situation that leads to social media psychosis which may blight the lives of young people.

Facebook and Twitter should display pop-up warning signs if users are on them for too long, according to health experts.

It is calculated that up to 90% of young people are now social media users when many are at particular risk of undue influence during their formative years, exacerbating depressive conditions.

Sir Simon Wessely, President of the UK's Royal College of Psychiatrists supports an education-based approach and warns that demonizing social media is not the answer.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Guardian: "I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives".

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