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Is Instagram Bad For Your Mental Health?

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Instagram, the popular photo sharing apps, is a great social app where we can share pictures of ourselves, our friends, favorite destinations and if you’re lucky, even find the love of your life….

Instagram currently has more than 1 billion users worldwide, and more than half (over 500 million) are daily users. Of all these users, the 18–24 year old age group are the most dominant on the platform.

We all love going on Instagram, scrolling through pictures, liking, resharing posts and posting on IG stories. But what are the effects of Instagram on our brains? Is Instagram in reality bad for us?

Well, according to science, it looks like Instagram is affecting our mental health and our views on our self image.

What The Science Says

According to research, the frequency of Instagram use is correlated with depressive symptoms, self-esteem, general and physical appearance anxiety amongst women.

Basically the more women use Instagram and compare themselves to other women on the app, the more they get a decrease in their happiness.

In experiments while using MRIs, it has been show that when girls see a highly rated image, the brain associates it with being “better“. So if an image has a lot of likes, the more girls associate with it, especially if it has a filter or has been altered.

In a survey of 227 female university students, women reported that they tend to compare their own appearance negatively with their peer group and with celebrities.

That doesn’t sound good….

Negative Downside To “Body Positive” Images

It may be with good intentions but it has been realized that there are downsides to body-positive images on Instagram. A study found that seeing body positive images on Instagram, it also showed that still ended up objectifying themselves.

It might seem a bit negative when it comes to Instagram but it doesn’t have to be.

Take A Break And Put Your Phone Down

So what’s the best thing to do to maintain your mental health on Instagram? Take a break once in a while.

Put down your phone and do other things. Engage in other activities which have nothing to do with appearance. Go out and have fun and leave your phone alone.

Be Careful Of Who You Follow

Be careful of who you follow on Instagram. If you’re find your Instagram timeline filled with nothing but appearance-focused pictures, maybe you need to diversify your followers and mix it up. Follow art, nature, and food accounts to make your TL a little better.

Give Up On Instagram? More Like Take A Break

You don’t need to take all this negative news about Instagram and give up on it. You can take a detox. You can also mute the celebrity and body focused accounts or just temporally disable your account if you want to.

Instagram may have ill effects on your mental health but you’re the one in control and you can choose to change how you use it.

More power to you!

Joseph-Albert Kuuire
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the founder and editor at large of Labari Media.

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