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Mental Health

Is Instagram affecting your mental health?

Instagram. Whether you like it or not, it is one of the most popular social media apps today. Studies show that 72 percent of teens use Instagram daily. Millions of people across the world use this platform each day to share pictures and videos of themselves and their life. This growing social media platform has many pros and cons allowing people to either love or hate it. 

Personally, I love Instagram and I always have. I enjoy taking pictures and posting them, as well as seeing what my other friends and family members, and celebrities are posting. However, this is not the case for everyone. Many people do not use Instagram or enjoy posting pictures of themselves and their life, which is totally fine! 

Instagram can also impact people’s mental health. Constantly scrolling through your feed can allow for unhealthy comparisons. In this article, I am going to cover the effects Instagram has on the mental health of teens and college students who use the platform.

How can Instagram impact mental health? 

Teens and college students are more likely to log onto Instagram than any other social media platform. Recent studies show that the more teens who use Instagram, their mental health, well-being, self-esteem, mood, and body image become worse. When people have the ability to look at most people’s profiles and pictures, this can allow for unhealthy comparisons to be made between themselves and the others on Instagram.

Constantly looking at someone else’s pictures of themselves can be toxic for your mind and can lead to comparison of ourselves to other people, and most of the time these people are complete strangers. In addition, many celebrities, models, etc. have their pictures altered or edited to look prettier and have sharper features or to make themselves look thinner. This does not apply to all celebrities and models, but some pictures on instagram are edited and look different from the original picture.

Body Image 

Instagram can be risky for teens and people our age because people may focus on how their body looks compared to someone else’s they saw in their feed. This allows for worry to fill people’s minds leading them to thinking…

“I need to be skinner”

“Why don’t I look like her?”

“This is the beauty standard I need to achieve.”

This can lead to low self-esteem and even body dysmorphia. People should not have to worry about what others think of their bodies or what they look like just because they do not look like people they constantly see in the media. 

Instagram vs. Reality 

The term, “Instagram vs. Reality” is used often in the social media world. It refers to people wanting to present themselves on Instagram as flattering with good lighting, perfect posing, and a filter. But in reality, people may not look how they do in the picture because they altered it to look perfect for Instagram. These altered images can create unrealistic beauty standards. 

Influencer Victoria Niamh Spence stated in an article, “I think social media would be a much more positive space if everyone decided to be more human.”

Normalizing our imperfections and realizing we don’t have to always look perfect for Instagram creates a more positive and real outlook on the app. I know it sounds cliche, but we are all beautiful in our own ways and should all celebrate our differences! 

Paige Sanders

Cal Lutheran '24

Hi! My name is Paige Sanders and I am from Stillwater, Minnesota. I am majoring in communications with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in environmental studies. I love going to the beach, shopping, and hanging out with friends. I also love taking pictures and writing.
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