Instagram, Snapchat most detrimental to mental health


While the positives include points like easy and quick access to other user's health experiences and expert health information, emotional support, building relationships and enabling self-expression, the negative side includes anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, body shaming, cyber bullying and fear of missing out.

In February, the organization surveyed almost 1,500 young people between the ages of 14 and 24, asking them to score how each of the five most popular social media platforms impact their feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety, their sleep, body image, real-world relationships, ability to express their feelings, define who they are, and more.

Google's YouTube won the most positive rating, followed by Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat were rated as having the second, third and fourth most positive impact.

Social media channels like Instagram cause anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and bullying, according to the survey.

The app still has more than 160 million daily users. The report warns that "social media can fuel a mental health crisis", but at the same time acknowledged that they can work in a beneficial way.

The company have said that their priority remains ensuring that Instagram was a safe and supportive space for young people.

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Researchers have considered Instagram to be the most risky to the health of the social network.

The survey also found that 71 per cent of young people would like to see a pop-up heavy usage warnings on social media.

'This practice is contributing to a generation of young people with poor body image and body confidence'.

Green added that it is important we lay the groundwork now to minimize potential harm as the first generation of social media users become adults.

"That's why we work in partnership with experts to give people the tools and information they need while using the app, including how to report content, get support for a friend they are anxious about or directly contact an expert to ask for advice on an issue they may be struggling with". However, it was considered the most detrimental to young people's sleeping patterns. While Instagram has been linked with helping many in raising awareness, self-expression, establish self-identity as well as emotional support, Facebook inculcates awareness and helps in building real world relationships, according to the survey.

The new study is calling for pop-up heavy usage warnings which would alert users when they've reached a unsafe level of time on an app. Researchers found about 70 percent of young people support the idea of pop-up warnings.

About 90% of young people use social media - more than any other age group - so they are particularly vulnerable to its effects, although it is not clear what these are on current evidence.