MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) — Instagram is the fastest growing social media app where more than 800 million users are swiping, filtering, and hashtaging their lives. A recent report cautions it’s mental health affects are anything but likeable.
“I only wanna post good pictures that I think people will like,” Grace Ringsmuth said.
Ringsmuth is a freshman at Verona High School. She says Snap Chat is her favorite social media app because it is “easy”. When it comes to Instagram, Ringsmuth says she feels a lot of pressure to post perfect pictures.
She’s not alone.
A report by the Young Health Movement in the United Kingdom revealed Instagram is the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing. YHM surveyed 1,500 teens and asked them to rank social media sites as most positive to most negative when it comes to their mental health. Instagram ranked most negative.
“I have deleted Instagram’s that haven’t gotten a lot of likes before,” Ringsmuth confessed.
Ringsmuth opened up about her feelings on Instagram saying the app gives her anxiety about what she posts, but more so, how it’s perceived from others.
“I am not going to post a picture I think I look bad in,” Ringsmuth said.
The report says 91 percent of 16-24 year old use the interest for social networking. Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70 percent in the past 25 years. YHM says the study showed social media is keeping people up at night causing a lack of sleep and creating more feelings of worry/ stress.
“Getting a lot of increases in anxiety and depression in young people particularly if they use it more than two hours a day,” Dr. Robert Peyton, child psychologist said.
Dr. Peyton is a child psychologist who works at SSM Health Dean Medical Group clinic in Sun Prairie and says he has witnessed how social media in general is creating a lot of problems for teens. He says Facebook is the worst for cyber-bullying, and Instagram is creating a lot of “compare and despair.”
“It’s not just this person on tv or someone in a fashion magazine. It’s the people that you see in the hallway,” Dr. Peyton said.
Dr. Peyton says the problem isn’t just affecting teens.
“It would be disingenuous to say that it doesn’t make you think twice about yourself or life,” Jamie Ringsmuth, Grace’s mom said.
She says she uses Instagram as a way to get new recipes, workout, and home projects, but it makes her question herself if she is doing enough in her life or raising her kids right.
“You just need to pay attention,” Jamie Ringsmuth said.
Jamie says she has confidence that Grace will come to her if she feels her anxiety or depression increases over social media. She wants her to interact with her friends and not feel isolated if she didn’t have social media.
On the positive side, Grace and Jamie think social media, in particular Instagram, promotes positivity. They say they will keep Instagram for the social interaction and positive comments they get from others.
“A lot of social media is really body positive right now. Like you are beautiful and you do you. So, I think for the most part, it is not too bad,” Grace said.
(Copyright 2017: WMTV)