Which social media network is your favorite? If you chose Instagram, be careful, because a new study suggests that it may be the worst for your mental health.
In a recent report entitled #StatusOfMind, researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health and Young Health Movement took a look at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s well-being by analyzing five social media platforms: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Instagram came in first place as the worst for mental health. It was followed by Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, then YouTube.
Scientists determined the rankings by surveying nearly 1,500 young people aged 14 to 24 from across the U.K. using 14 key metrics. Researchers asked questions about depression, body image, loneliness, bullying and more.
The study showed that Instagram had the most negative effects on body image, sleep and FOMO (fear of missing out), while YouTube had more positive effects on community building, awareness and self-expression.
Instagram and Snapchat "are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people," Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said in a statement.
Researchers, however, offered some ways to reduce risk. They recommend that social media companies use “heavy usage warning” pop-ups, spot “troubled” users and point out photo manipulations.
They also encourage more research from academic institutions, independent researchers and social media companies to combat mental health issues.