Social media has become the norm among the younger generations, with a reported 91% of 16-24 year old using the internet for social networking.
A recent study, #StatusOfMind, examined the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health. The survey of nearly 1,500 young people aged 14-24 asked them to score each social media platform on issues such as anxiety, loneliness and community building.
Instagram was ranked the WORST social media network for mental health and wellbeing. Their heavy focus on images and addictive feeds of picture-perfect lifestyles has, according to the survey, resulted in users feeling anxious, depressed, and inadequate. Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label discovered 40% of youngsters felt bad when nobody liked their selfies, and 35% said that their confidence was directly linked to the number of followers they had.
So what is it that appeals to us about social media? Dan Kurts, developer of the unsocial social media app, Binky, explained ‘the reason we scroll through social media is not because we want to keep up with the news or see photos of friends who are happier than us. We do it because we want to scroll through stuff on our phones’. When you’re travelling to work, having lunch alone or dinner with friends, you pick up your phone to keep yourself distracted from the boring, lonesome and awkward moments.
Social media usage brings with it both positives and negatives it would seem; the trick is to be mindful about how and when you use it. You can tap into your social networks as frequently as you want, but remember what you see is just a small snippet of someone’s life so do not be so quick to judge or be envious.