A new report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM) rates the impact of social media as it pertains to the mental health of young people.
The groups conducted a survey of nearly 1,500 people between the ages of 14 and 24 across the UK in which participants were asked to score how each social media platform they use impacts upon 14 well-being and health-related issues like depression, body image and anxiety which experts have identified as being significant.
Based upon their findings, it was discovered that YouTube is the most positive of the top five platforms. Twitter finished in second place followed by Facebook in the bronze spot. Snapchat came in fourth place with Instagram finishing in the last spot and thus being labeled as the most negative of the group.
Shirley Cramer, CEO of RSPH, notes that social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues.
Cramer added that it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well-being. Both are very image-focused platforms, she correctly identified, noting that it would appear as if they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.
The health specialist said it is important to have checks and balances in place to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young people’s mental health and well-being. The idea, she concluded, is to promote and encourage the many positive aspects of networking platforms and avoid a situation that leads to social media psychosis which may blight the lives of young people.