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Friday May 19 2017
Web Desk

Instagram, Snapchat worst for mental health of young people: study

Web Desk

Instagram is the worst social media platform when it comes to affecting the mental health of young people, with Snapchat coming in at the second place, a recent study said.

The study, conducted by The Royal Society for Public Health and the charity Young Health Movement, included responses from 1,479 people aged 14-24 on scoring popular apps on 14 issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image.

"Social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis," the study said.

Instagram said it takes the issue of bullying seriously and has ensured the social media site remains a supportive place for all people.

The study also highlighted the positive impacts of the social media sites. YouTube was the social media platform found to have the most positive impact on young minds while Instagram was also found to have a positive impact on self-expression and self-identity.

Twitter stood at the second-best place but overall the poll also showed the site having a negative effect on mental health. Using Facebook was voted as being linked to sleep deprivation and experiencing bullying, while it ranked positive for emotional support and community building.

Instagram has led young women to "compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality," Matt Keracher, author of the report, told CNN.

“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,” said Shirley Cramer CBE, the chief executive of the RSPH.

The study also made various suggestions for the sites to address these issues, such as warning users on heavy social media usage, and providing support to users with their photoshopped images aimed at bullying. 

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