Community, Feature, Health, Technology

Social Media May Negatively Impact Mental Health

By Jacqueline Tenreiro SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – There’s worse that could happen from an Instagram post than a low number of likes.

The photo-sharing social media platform has been dubbed most detrimental to the mental health of young people, according to a recent U.K.-based #StatusOfMind study. The report, a collaboration between the Royal Society for Public Health and the Youth Health Movement, ranked Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube after Instagram, respectively.

But the study’s findings aren’t limited to the U.K. Millennials in Syracuse could easily identify why certain platforms lead to negative experiences.

“It’s kind of like a popularity contest,” said Terrence Warren, a social media user, of Instagram.

According to the study, Warren isn’t far off. Some of the negative mental impacts mentioned include anxiety, bullying, fear of missing out and body image issues.

Ji Won Kim, a PhD candidate at Syracuse University, studies media psychology – and works specifically with the impact of social media.

“On Instagram, people post a lot of photos and see a lot of photos posted by other users,” Kim said, “So (Instagram) can provide a more ideal platform for engaging in this social comparison process, therefore influencing people’s body image.”

Warren said he’s seen these “social comparisons” first-hand – especially in his younger sister’s generation.

“I can see how it can affect them,” he said. “…they’re not as popular as their friends, and their friend is getting more attention on social media than them.”

But with identification of the social media problem comes a call to resolve it. The #StatusOfMind study suggests photo editing disclaimers, teaching safe social media practices and monitoring mentally at-risk platform users.

Kim said she doesn’t see the abundance or usage of social media changing anytime soon. That’s why she thinks even more studies could be the next step in facilitating positive social media experiences.