Atlanta Teen Voices / all

Article by Ansley Bokath

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INSTAGRAM IS DESTROYING OUR MENTAL HEALTH 

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How has social media affected our mental health? Instagram, in particular, has affected our mental health. But how? What can we do to stop our mental health from being affected by “Click here to enter text?” 

I feel like Instagram has affected our mental health in a lot of ways. Teens’ mental health is being destroyed by social media as we are comparing ourselves to one another or by bad comments. Bad comments can be commenting on how you look and be considered cyberbullying.  According to research published by the American Psychological Psychological Association (APA). “Studies have linked Instagram to depression, body image concerns, self-esteem issues, social anxiety, and other problems. By design, the app capitalizes on users’ biological drive for social belonging—and nudges them to keep on scrolling.”

Social comparison is also horrible for our mental health. People compare their lives to social media or other people. Most of the time, Instagram is usually fake, but how would you know? You would start thinking how boring or bad your life is and make really bad thoughts in your head. “Upward social comparison in particular is extremely common on Instagram,” according to psychology researcher Jasmine Fardouly, Ph.D, who is quoted in the APA article, which also notes: “Users evaluate their own life alongside curated — and often edited—images of others … That can lead to false social comparison when users contrast their appearance with idealized images.”

In general, self-esteem and confidence are big things to focus on. Social media destroys them. Now, people care about likes, comments and shares. If people don’t get enough likes on a post it could lead to so many problems. They could ask themselves, “Why did she get that many? Am I not pretty enough?” 

This comparison and destroying of self-esteem could lead to harm. Kids today care about this for popularity, which could even lead to depression because of so many doubts or not enough likes. The same APA article also notes: “In particular, Instagram users who engage in digital status seeking (looking for popularity online) and social comparison (evaluating oneself in relation to others) tend to experience negative psychological outcomes. Such behaviors have been linked to increases in depressive symptoms, social anxiety, and body image concerns across age groups, as well as decreases in self-esteem.”

What can I do to stop Instagram from affecting my mental health? You could spread positivity so you can help others going through the same thing. You could also only follow positive creators or mental health platforms. Last year, UNICEF published “Five tips to maintain your mental health while using social media” and suggests: 

  • “Use social media for good, by sharing positive and supportive content and messages with your friends, family and classmates. …
  • “Try and find positive and motivating content and creators to follow, like athletes, singers, home cooks, self-made entrepreneurs, authors, or even young people speaking up about mental health, and managing their own mental health issues- it can be any one or group that inspires you to be healthy in mind and body.”

How has social media affected you and your mental health? What do you do to prevent it from negativity affecting you? What advice or do you know how to prevent it.

Paula Ortiz, is a student at North Springs High School, agrees social media does have an impact on our mental health. She says we compare ourselves to social media, and others. We also make ourselves feel bad and bring ourselves down. But she also says social media can be used for good people; can bring you up, spread awareness and donate to mental health causes. She also thinks social media is a distraction to our mental health from the bad. She says her mental health has gotten worse from social media, and ways to prevent it are to take a break and don’t make social media your main source of entertainment.

Jack Baylin is also a is a student at North Springs who thinks social media absolutely affects everyone’s mental health, especially when friends post and it can cause internal and external drama, which is unnecessary. He says there’s so many layers of social media that can affect your mental health, and most of the bad impact comes off as perfect bodies and looks that are edited. The best way to cope is to ignore it, block it out and live your life without comparing yourself to what you see on social media. 

Instagram has affected dour mental health in many ways, leading to social anxiety, depression, self-harm, and being self-critical. Honestly, if its affects your health, just delete the app, go on a walk, go outside, be with friends. People  compare you to everything, people depend on popularity like likes. But to help others as well, don’t post bad comments, posts, etc. Be positive!


Ansley Bokath, 14, is a 9th grade student at North Springs High School who has social media and seen the effects.

 

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