Instagram rated worst app for young people's mental health

YouTube tops the table as the most positive social media platform

Instagram rated worst app for young people's mental health

The Instagram photo and vidoe sharing app | Image: PA images

Instagram is the most damaging social media platform when it comes to young people's mental health, according to a new report.

Leading mental health experts say that Instagram is putting a filter on real life.

A charity in the UK has warned that the platform has the most negative impact on users, putting them at risk of loneliness, depression and body image anxiety.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in collaboration with Young Health Movement published a report called #StatusOfMind, which examined the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health.

In a survey of almost 1,500 people aged 14 to 24, they found that young people were most likely to associate Instagram with negative attributes and low self-esteem, resulting in poor body image and lack of sleep.

Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were next on the list after the photo sharing app. 

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said: "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."

Possible solutions

The RSPH outlined a number of recommendations for governments, social media companies and policy makers to help promote the positive aspects of social media.

Firstly, they recommended the introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media.

They also suggested for social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts, and discretely signpost to support. 

Finally, they recommended that social media platforms should highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated.