Mounting evidence suggests that social media has a negative effect on our brains.
I have written about social media before, and the more I read about the negative psychological effects associated with it, the more concerned I become.
I say, as I check my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Social media is everywhere. Now more than ever, as a company or an individual, it is important to have a social media presence out there in the world, so people will feel you are accessible.
There have been many studies on how this phenomenon affects the brain, and especially the development of young minds. The studies have found pretty much unanimously that active social media users experience negative side effects, stemming from their comparison to other people’s ‘lives’, and the side effects of technology addiction.
I don’t expect anyone to put down their phones and delete their social media profiles from this article, but maybe if you know which profiles are the worst, you can pay more attention to any negative side effects that pop up.
Instagram is the worst social media platform for your psyche. A 2017 survey of 1,500 young people found that Instagram can lead to anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep loss, and bullying. This is probably because Instagram really makes everyone’s lives look perfect, which causes a lot of envy in today’s youth.
Snapchat was the second most harmful, probably because its very easy to bully someone when your chat will disappear after a few seconds.
Facebook landed in the middle, and as the most popular social media network of all, I would say its in the right place. The reason for this is probably the sense of community Facebook creates, which isn’t based in ‘othering’, the way Instagram is.
Twitter was the second best social media platform, most likely because even though it has negative effects, the lack of photos allows people to remain more anonymous.
Youtube was the least of all social media evils, mostly because it promotes awareness and allows people to really express themselves. Naturally there are negative side effects of Youtube, such as lack of sleep, and cyber-bullying, but since youtube was created for video sharing, it is based more on entertainment, and the video format allows for a more realistic portrayal of people’s lives.
As always you should strive to be really aware of how social media affects you. For instance, in the past few days I have caught myself glued to Facebook 75% of my free time. So I have made a concerted effort to put my phone down and engage with the people around me more.
As with anything, there is a balance to social media. Find the right balance for you, and you, and Instagram can coexist peacefully.