Mental health and social media have a complex relationship: the argument over whether our connection to these platforms is positive or negative shifts weekly. Sharing your life online offers the opportunity to edit out any shadow of reality, leaving behind a sunny artificial version of reality. Anyone who has ever got stuck in an internet hole of someone else's perfect, millennial pink-hued, Acai bowl-fuelled life understands how shitty that can make you feel. But platforms like Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram also offer a lifeline to people beyond your immediate community, and allow individuals to explore emotions in less confronting ways.
Now the UK's Royal Society for Public Health have weighed in on the issue with their new study #StatusofMind. They interviewed almost 1,500 people aged between 14 and 23 about how Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube impacted their mental health. The findings revealed that Instagram was the most detrimental, especially for young women. The popular app stood apart for its ability to literally filter out any imperfections, which in turn left consumers feeling anxious, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled — or as they say online, with mad FOMO.
Interestingly, considering recent conversations around censoring queer voices, YouTube came out best: they were the only platform to receive a positive rating. Although the group stressed all frequent social media use was found to leave people feeling worse off; specially, spending more than two hours a day scrolling leaves you likely to experience psychological distress.
Read the rest of the article over at i-D