Instagram and Snapchat Rated Worst Platforms for Kids’ Mental Health

A public health report ranked social media platforms by their influence on well being.

May 20, 2017 5:00 am
(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Face-warping selfies could be warping adolescents’ brains too.

Snapchat and Instagram were determined by a group of medical professionals to be the worst for mental health in a report that ranked the influence of social media platforms.

YouTube was determined to have the most positive impact, followed by Twitter and Facebook.

Conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health and the Young Health Movement, the study examined the negative and positive health effects of social media. Researchers surveyed 1,500 young people, between the ages of 14 to 24, across the United Kingdom for the report.

Participants were asked to score each social media platform based on the impact they felt each one had on 14 health issues, selected by experts as the most significant for mental health and wellbeing. These issues ranged from body image and bullying to sleep and access to reliable health information. Social media platforms were ranked by scores determined from the survey.

“It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing—both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, said. 

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