Instagram is Harmful to Teenage Girls, Report Says

For the past four years Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has been conducting studies into how their app can harm teenage girls’ mental and emotional health. 

The study shows that 32% of girls who had previous issues with body image felt worse by using Instagram, and the app has also increased the rate of depression and anxiety about social image and physical attractiveness. Out of teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 6% of the cases were connected to Instagram.

However, the company did not share this key information with the public until three years after their studies were done, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

After the statistics were exposed, Meta downplayed their findings, claiming that the app does more good than damage.

 “It is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is “toxic” for teen girls. The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal — including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues — more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said that Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse.

While some may find the results hard to believe, most experts firmly agree with the information. Dr. Jennifer Zumarraga, a director of adolescent psychology at El Camino Health commented on the notable impact of social media, “I have seen it have quite a detrimental effect on their view of themselves, their body image,” she said. “I have often seen that it leads to depression, anxiety and eating disorders.”

Janice Bremis, the executive producer at the Eating Disorders Research Center states, “They [Meta] definitely have an obligation to share their research.”

The controversy sparked could not have come at a worse time for Meta, as they have been trying to increase the amount of Instagram users who are younger. 

For now, the company’s Instagram For Kids campaign has been on a moratorium.

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