According to a study published by Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM), Instagram and Snapchat have the worst impact on children’s mental health, BusinessInsider reports. The study reveals that some of the most common negative mental health impacts that can be induced by these two social media platforms include anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
The study titled #StatusOfMind, which examined the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health, is based on responses from 1,500 young people (aged 14-24). Participants were asked to score how each of the social media platforms they use impacts upon 14 health and wellbeing-related issues, which were identified by researchers as the most important.
The study found that YouTube had the most positive impact, while Instagram and Snapchat were the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Shirley Cramer, CEO of RSPH, highlighted in a statement that social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.
“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,” she said.
The study also makes a number of recommendations to these social platforms, which include:
- Introducing a pop up when users over indulge in social media.
- Getting social media companies to identify children that might be suffering from mental health problems by monitoring their posts.
- Tasking social media companies with flagging images that have been digitally manipulated.
To learn more about the study, including the health and wellbeing-related issues that children were asked to score, visit this link.