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The Dark Side of Instagram: Negative Impact on Mental Health

March 13, 2023

Is Instagram bad for mental health? That's a question that's been debated a lot lately. Some people say that it can be harmful because it exposes users to unrealistic standards of beauty and Perfect lifestyles. Others argue that it can be beneficial because it allows people to connect with each other and share their lives openly.

As mental health is such an important topic these days, you would think that all social media platforms would be taking steps to ensure their users' well-being. Unfortunately, that's not the case - and in fact, some platforms are actually making things worse. Take Instagram, for example. With its focus on perfection and likes, it's no wonder that this platform is one of the worst for mental health. Here's why:

1) The Filters Create a False Reality

2) There's Too Much Pressure to Perform

3) FOMO Is Real (And It's Dangerous).

If you're a marketer, it's important to be aware of how social media can impact your audience's mental health - and Instagram is definitely one platform to avoid.

The negative impact of social media on mental health is well-documented

Have you heard? Social media has invaded your mind! It's true - with pediatric mental health screening increasingly highlighting the potential damage caused by too much exposure to social media, it's enough to make a parent feel like their sanity is being held, hostage. From lack of sleep, focus, and physical activity to cyberbullying and increased feelings of depression, the harms that can befall our youth due to indulging in too much digital distraction are proving more than worrisome. So if you're a parent or teenager out there feeling overwhelmed by the impact of screens on your lives, no worries because there are plenty of helpful resources available - even if it doesn't always seem that way. Stay safe and sane friends!

FOMO - the fear of missing out

FOMO is no joke! If you step out of your comfort zone, it can feel like the whole world knows what you're missing - from concerts and cool events to networking opportunities - and you don't want to miss out on the next big trend or even just a fun evening with friends. That's why it's important to recognize FOMO for what it is: an easy pitfall that can keep us needlessly engaged with what other people are doing rather than allowing ourselves to take a break. Once we become aware of how our insecurities might be at play, we can use this 'fear of missing out' as an opportunity to evaluate our own priorities with clear eyes and move forward accordingly.

Instagram specifically can cause feelings of inadequacy, envy, and anxiety

Social media sites like Instagram are supposed to be entertaining and fun, but too often they can leave us feeling down. We can compare ourselves to others and start to feel jealous, unworthy, or anxious about our lives. It's especially concerning for pediatric mental health, as studies show that kids who spend too much time on social media are more prone to depression and other psychological issues. To protect our children from the hazards of excessive Instagramming, pediatric health professionals recommend regular screenings of mental health for their young patients along with monitoring screen time. Our kids need a healthy attitude towards social media if they're going to enjoy it without any serious consequences to their mental well-being - let's make sure we're helping them find it!

Instagram specifically can cause feelings of inadequacy and jealousy.

When it comes to Instagram, it’s easy to feel like you don’t quite measure up. With each glamorous post and picture-perfect moment showcased online, it can be hard not to feel inadequate or jealous sometimes. Just remember that you can never truly know someone’s entire story just by looking at their social media posts – and if what they share is unachievable and seems too perfect, we can all take a step back and remind ourselves how social media isn't always an accurate portrayal of reality.

The negative impact on body image

It's okay to want to look your best, but when it comes to body image, it can be difficult not to get caught up in the unrealistic expectations of society. Everyone is unique and has different qualities that make them beautiful inside and out. Remember that having a healthy balance between confidence and self-care is the key — no matter how society wants us to view ourselves! While negative body image might seem like an impossible obstacle, with a bit of a perspective shift, you can learn to appreciate the lovely person you are!

The platform is designed to be addictive, with notifications and a constant scroll that encourages users to keep coming back for more

The platform is designed to be addictive. It's constantly offering up new content, whether it's in the form of notifications or a never-ending scroll. The idea is to keep users coming back for more, even if they're not really sure what they're getting out of it. And it seems to be working, judging by the amount of time people spend on the site.

Users are often only presented with the "highlight reel" of other people's lives, which can lead to comparison and self-doubt

They say all that glitter is not gold—but nowadays, it sure can look that way on social media. With everyone presenting the seemingly perfect versions of their lives, it's easy to get caught up in their so-called highlight reels and dive into a pool of comparison and self-doubt. If you find yourself feeling down this way, try to remember: not everything we see online is real life!

The constant need for validation

One of the most interesting things about humans is our need for validation. Whether it's from our parents, our friends, or strangers on the internet, we all crave that sense of approval. And while there's nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, this need for validation can sometimes lead us down a rabbit hole. We might find ourselves constantly seeking approval, even when it's not necessary. So why do we need validation? Well, that's a question for the ages. But one thing's for sure: we all want to feel appreciated.

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the negative impact of Instagram on your mental health, such as unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, setting time limits, and being mindful of the content you consume

Don't let Instagram take the joy out of your life! Taking control of the content you consume is an easy and important step in taking care of your mental health. Unfollow those accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, set a time limit for scrolling each day, and be mindful of the messages you're absorbing from everything on your feed. Let's even have some fun in the process - put together an 'inspiration board' of inspiring quotes and images to get a more balanced view of what it is that you should be focusing on.  Keeping your Instagram consumption under control will keep your precious energy up and help ensure you don't lose sight of why it's so important to focus on yourself first.

Social media gets a lot of flak for being bad for mental health, and rightfully so. But it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom – there are steps you can take to reduce the negative impact of Instagram on your mood. By unfollowing people who make you feel bad, setting time limits, and being mindful of the content you consume, you can take control of your social media usage and ensure that it has a positive (or at least neutral) effect on your mental health.

So, the next time you find yourself getting caught up in FOMO or feeling inadequate because of what you see on Instagram, just remember - everyone is curating their own highlight reel. Life is more than just perfect photos and experiences. It's okay to take a break from social media and live your own life So go forth and scroll guilt-free!