Dr. Helen

What Social Media Site is Worst for Mental Health?

Is Instagram detrimental to mental health? Yes, according to a recent study in the UK:

Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform to young people’s mental health, according to new research out of the U.K.

Researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health in conjunction with the Young Health Movement published the report entitled #StatusOfMind, which looks at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health and well-being.

Snapchat ranked the second worst for mental health of the sites reviewed in the report, followed by Facebook. On the plus side, YouTube topped the list as the most positive, with Twitter coming in after it.

The researchers surveyed almost 1,500 teens and young people aged 14 to 24 from across the U.K. to score how each of the social media platforms they use impacts 14 specific factors related to their health and well-being.

These included emotional support, depression, body image, loneliness, sleep, self-expression, self-identity, community building, and bullying, among others.


It could be that people who already have problems in these areas are more likely to go on these sites. More outgoing, nature-loving, people loving types are out having fun and not sitting on the internet or instagram as often. And Instagram is more about visual images of people themselves where others can critique them. If you have low self-esteem or problems being critiqued, it’s best not to be on these sites as often.

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