Which social media platform is the worst for young people? That’s what the Royal Society for Public Health and Young Health Movement wanted everyone to know when they published #StatusOfMind, which examines the positive and negative effects of social media to the mental health of teens and young adults. According to this report, Instagram and Snapchat are apparently the most dangerous applications to one’s mental well-being. Find out more about the report from RSPH.
How Effective Is Social Media As A Platform For Change?
RSPH and the Young Health Movement (YHM) have published a new report, #StatusOfMind, examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health, including a league table of social media platforms according to their impact on young people’s mental health.
YouTube tops the table as the most positive, with Instagram and Snapchat coming out as the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Thankfully, not all types of social media platforms have a potential negative impact on a person’s mental health. In the study, YouTube was named as having the positive influence followed by Twitter and Facebook for second and third place.
— Kimberly Fletcher (@kimmy1336) May 22, 2017
Social Media And Depression
But this isn’t the first time a social media platform has been linked to mental health and poor body image. A 2016 study by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences linked social media to depression among teens. In the research, the group stressed the importance of early clinical intervention. Depression is in the running for being the leading cause of disability by 2030. By that time, these teens are already working individuals.
A 2017 University of Würzburg research cited how the top social media apps cultivate narcissistic traits and behavior. The report said websites like Facebook give narcissists a convenient tool to do self-promotion. With their posts becoming popular, more and more people start to develop a convoluted sense of perfection and start stressing about showing a perfect life on social media.
Mitigate Potential Negative Influences
Despite the worrying outcome of the report, it doesn’t mean you need to stop using social media all together. RSPH and YHM recommended integrating user warnings for the apps. They also suggested that these platforms identify users with possible mental health issues and discreetly signpost support. Young people agreed with these suggestions.
It’s also notable that people who went through mental health problems use social media nowadays to share their experience and advocacies. Demi Lovato, for example, is well-known for her body-positive posts after going through weight issues and depression in the past.
It’s time to encourage your community, such as schools, to teach children and teens about the impact of social media and how they can be tools for the common good. They also have to create and implement anti-bullying regulations. The government needs to strengthen its interventions for mental health issues.
You can use ANY social media platform to become an agent for change! To find out how you can do that, listen to this inspirational video from JacksGap:
The top social media apps are now paying attention. They take down posts they believe are harmful to other users. They help you filter the information and images you see. But a social media platform can only do so much. What matters more is how you use it, and I’d say utilize it to become a better person by inspiring others.
How do you use your favorite social media platform to inspire others? Share your stories and tips below!