The study conducted by researchers for the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK appears to have found that Instagram and Snapchat are the worst social media site in terms of its impact on the mental health of young people.
The researchers surveyed 1,479 British youths between the ages of 14 and 24, asking them how they felt the different social media networks affected their mental health. They considered factors such as body image, sleep deprivation, bullying, and self-identity.
The results showed that Instagram and Snapchat had terrible scores for body image, bullying, and anxiety. Twitter and Facebook weren’t much better, though. YouTube was the only one that apparently inspired more positive feelings than negative ones.
The reason why these two social media networks came out worst is probably because they are image-based apps, meaning it’s not easy for users to avoid visual comparisons according to the research. Both apps ranked high on “Fear of Missing Out,” and this can lead to anxiety in young people.
On how to deal with this, the research suggested a way users can offset the negative emotions by reminding users that life exists outside of these apps. There should be a pop-up warning that would let users know they have reached a particular level of social media usage as well as watermarks that indicate a photo has been digitally manipulated.