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Instagram Social media app rated worst for mental health of young people

19 May 2017

According to a new United Kingdom study.

"It's interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing".

1,479 people aged between 14-24 were asked to rate social media apps on their impact on issues such as anxiety, loneliness, depression, body image and bullying.

The findings fall in line with Irish trends with 72pc of young people citing body image as a main cause of stress and 43pc citing social media as a main cause of stress, according to a study conducted by ReachOut Ireland this year.

Instagram has been revealed as the most negative of the major social media platforms for mental health in young people.

Instagram emerged with the most negative score.

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

Faced with thousands of pictures posted on social platforms, "nine in 10 girls say they are unhappy with their body" and women are thinking about making various changes to their appearance, including surgery.

"We work in partnership with experts to give people the tools and information they need while using the app, including how to report content, get support for a friend they are anxious about or directly contact an expert to ask for advice on an issue they may be struggling with". However, there is still a note of caution, with compliance being at the forefront of many pharmaceutical companies' minds, and, while the industry is starting to embrace social media and build on the many opportunities that it affords them, without clear finalized regulatory guidance, remaining compliant will continue to be main challenge facing the industry.

All of the studied social networking sites studied - with the exception of YouTube - heightened feelings of anxiety and depression.

"Because platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of the people we know and the world around us, it is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted", she said.

Researchers have considered Instagram to be the most risky to the health of the social network.

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Many users also noted that they experienced bullying while using social networks.

The video platform is followed by Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat in that order.

Sir Simon Wessely, President of the UK's Royal College of Psychiatrists supports an education-based approach and warns that demonizing social media is not the answer.

The health experts of the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement have called on social media platforms to create special pop-up warning messages to prevent their overuse.

'Young people can find themselves damned if they do take part, and damned if they don't as they risk becoming isolated from their peers'.

The RSPH study said social platforms should flag up heavy social media use and identify users with mental health issues.

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Instagram Social media app rated worst for mental health of young people