Well, like it or not, it’s official! Instagram is the most harmful app for mental health according to a new report. Though it was long suspected that Facebook was detrimental to our mental health, now it seems our daily Instagram habit is just as bad. The report was conducted by the researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health who assessed people aged 14 to 24 on how Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat made them feel — in a both positive and negative way. Participants answered 14 questions in total about each social media platform, including whether or not they experienced feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness while using the apps. Turns out Instagram made them feel the “worst”, followed closely by Snapchat, Facebook and then Twitter whereas only YouTube made them feel slightly better. We checked on this with Insta-addicts to know their reactions, whether the report will anyway determine their daily Insta addictions and more.
“I’m an extremely visual person,” says self-taught baker and owner at Sugar Daddy Bakes, Bijay Thapa. He adds, “Art and design fuels my work. With crazy lifestyle practices and equally crazy schedules that we keep up these days, it gets impossible for anyone to constantly access one’s favourite thing. Here’s where Insta comes into play. It not only helps one connect with their passion but also opens up a whole new spectrum of reference points and inspirations.”
“I am a self-learned person and I work from home and Insta is my window to the outside world, which has no boundaries whatsoever. Through Insta, I have been able to connect with some amazing and incredible people, pages and posts,” Thapa adds.
Designer Varun Bahl also feels that it’s an incredible platform to see what’s out there, connect with different people across the globe and due to the highly visual usage, it’s better than any other medium. “I feel that it connects the entire world through pictures. There are so many interesting accounts that one can follow, and you come across so many like-minded people through this medium I can never get bored through Instagram as it helps me grow, learn and expand my imagination.”
However, the assessment addressed how the platforms impacted body image, quality of sleep and bullying. Additionally, it determined the level of FOMO the users experienced after they looked at each social media feed. For this, Bijay says, “I frankly don’t really understand know how Insta can harm anyone’s mental health. People on Insta are the most caring and sharing kind as far as my experience goes. However, I feel that it’s a double-edged sword. The world is 50 percent real and 50 percent fake. So people who fall into the rabbit hole of the fake world may get deeply affected by it. Trying to keep up with that sort of a world may further result in self-doubt, low self-esteem, and insecurity. People don’t know where to draw a line and that’s what seems to be the problem here.”
Actress, singer and former VJ Sophie Choudry agrees and says, “I think Instagram is incredibly addictive because it’s all about a voyeuristic culture. We want to see want others are doing, live vicariously through and then everyone experiences FOMO. I think that can cause depression because either you always feel like you are missing out or that your life isn’t good enough. The only thing you have to be careful about is not falling into the trap of constantly comparing your life to someone else!”
Priya Randhawa, an Insta addict who is also a lifestyle brand consultant shares that the excess of anything tends to be harmful to anyone and everyone. “While the ideal amount of time spent or regularity of engagements/posts on Instagram may vary but it can also give rise to people trying to be a part of trends or trending posts/activities that may start showing up on Instagram, without giving much thought to it, which may, in turn, pose a threat to their safety, mental and physical health.”
“We live in a generation where everything is being constantly judged, watched, compared or measured,” lastly says Dr Mallika Oberoi, a mental health specialist. “By observing how friends are constantly celebrating something or travelling somewhere, young people are increasing etched with the feeling of ‘falling out of society’, while others are enjoying life. These feelings can contribute to the ‘comparative and desperate’ situation among young people. People can view photoshop photos or video clips that were largely edited in and compare them to what they think are mundane lives. However, I affirmatively feel that it has nothing to do with only one medium from the entire bunch of different social media.”