The Serious Health Problem That Instagram Generates For Teenagers

The -unreal- physical perfection shown through social media can lead to serious health problems, especially for young people. This was determined by an investigation carried out by Facebook , in which the platform studied the effects that excessive use of Instagram – the network of which it owns – can have on adolescents.

Also read: Curing obesity or anorexia: in search of the definitive drug

The research was carried out through specific groups, surveys and analysis of personal accounts during 2019 and 2020. At the same time, it included large-scale surveys of tens of thousands of people in 2021, which in parallel compared the answers given by the users with the data that Facebook has on the amount of time users spent on Instagram and what they saw during that time.

The results of the investigation, to which the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal had access and according to the aforementioned media, show that the directors of the popular social network were aware of the negative consequences that the excessive use of Instagram generates for users. teenagers.

One of the cases that has come to light as a result of these documents is that of Anastasia Vlasova , an 18-year-old girl from Reston (Virginia). The interviewee, who started going to therapy a year ago, explains to WSJ that she had developed an eating disorder due to time spent on Instagram.

Vlasova joined the platform at age 13 , and spent an average of three hours a day swarming the network fascinated by the seemingly perfect bodies of the influencers she found on the app. “When I went on Instagram, all I saw were pictures of chiseled bodies, perfect abs, and women doing 100 burpees in 10 minutes,” he recounted.

What is orthorexia and what dangers it has for health if it is not identified in time
What is orthorexia and what dangers it has for health if it is not identified in time

This is just one of the millions of parallel testimonies that could be collected as a result of the investigation. And it is that, from it it is clear that the young people consulted repeatedly manifested serious problems of anxiety and depression as a result of the use of the App. According to the American media, in the slides shown in the internal photo they made on Facebook to see The results of the investigation, could be read phrases such as: “Adolescents blame Instagram for the increase in cases of anxiety and depression”, and added that this was “a spontaneous and generalized reaction in all the groups analyzed.”

The summary that the researchers made on the effect of the use of the photography social network during an internal presentation in 2019 was the following: “We worsened the body image problem of one in three adolescents . ” A year later, in another meeting to discuss the same issue, the documents exposed indicated that “32% of adolescents said that when they feel problems with their body, Instagram makes them feel worse.”

An even more relevant point of the research has to do with the recognition by adolescents of suicidal tendencies generated by the consumption of the application. As reported in the study, 13% of young British women and 6% of American women said that their desire to kill themselves was due to Instagram.

Zuckerberg minimized the harmful effects
According to the aforementioned media, despite the data exposed during the three years that the investigation lasted, Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook, dismissed the harmful effects on mental health and valued the benefit of social networks in a parliamentary hearing that was held in 2021. “The research we have seen shows that using social applications to connect with other people can be beneficial and positive for mental health,” said the manager.

For his part, Adam Mosseri, an Instagram executive, explained that the effect is “low.” “In no way do I intend to minimize these problems. Some of the problems mentioned may not be widespread, but they are still having a great impact on some people,” he added.

However, the documents to which The Wall Street Journal has had access reveal that the directors of Facebook and Instagram repeatedly minimized the harmful effects on mental health that these applications can have on adolescents, even though they are aware of their seriousness.

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