For the majority of us, social media is part of our daily routine. Whether its a wake up n’ scroll, time filling whilst sat on the bog or a quick spot of procrastination; social apps are the go too. Social media can have a huge effect on our psychology. How we portray ourselves, other people and their perceptions. Therefore, staying safe on apps such as Instagram is essential to ensuring emotional wellbeing. We discuss the effects Instagram can have on us, in addition to precautions necessary for safe app usage.
Instagram usage; psychological effects
Instagram can cause distress as deceptions are common. After all, do the photos we see properly portray someone’s lifestyle? Similarly, do the photos we post accurately represent ours? Alternative personas are all too common, with people altering their ‘online selves’ to better appeal to their audience. Dishonest portrayals can have major mental health consequences as the upkeep can be demanding.
Instagram influencers have a certain image to uphold. This online image can be easily misconstrued, deviating heavily from reality; resulting in induced stress and anxiety. Honestly depicting yourself by keeping a clear line between private and public-online image may help negate these effects. Furthermore, in a report by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health; 1400 14-24 y/o were surveyed on the positive and negative impacts of social media. Instagram scores well on self-expression, however linked heavily with sleep loss, body image concerns and anxiety. Shirley Cramer, chief exec states, “checks and balances should be in place on Instagram to mitigate their destructive effects on well being”.
Instagram; checks and balances
Instagram answers by launching a ‘parent portal’; aiding app safety. The portal shows photo and video sharing features, in addition to private v public privacy features. Additionally, a timer system helps keep track of time spent on the app, prompting breaks if necessary. Most importantly, the portal encourages talking about mental health as a result of comments; suggestive of how well they know their followers.
Instagram’s answer of a parent portal makes headway in tackling the issue of online safety. However, this is restrictive and specific to millennials and Gen Z. It may be argued the app needs to do more in protecting a wider range of users.