Social media is embedded in most of our daily lives today, few will dispute that. Adults are known to have at least a Facebook profile, while teens are known to have all the social media accounts under the sun–but what are the effects of this? New studies are showing that unfettered social media use may be harmful to teens, especially a child with low self esteem.
Study shows Instagram is most harmful to mental health
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world with over 700 million users. The app is centered on photos users post; other users can comment and “like” the post if they choose.
There’s still a vast amount of information we don’t know about the effects of social media on young brains, which is why RSPH and the Young Health Movement decided to conduct a study.
The study, #StatusOfMind, discovered Instagram to be the top contributor to negative mental health effects in youth–while YouTube was the most (and only) positive platform. The study involved almost 1,500 young people, ranging in age from 14 to 24.
The results showed that Instagram was particularly hard on young girls’ mental health–which could be especially alarming if you have a child with low self esteem.
Why Instagram is causing issues
The issue with Instagram has to do with the photos being posted. The majority of photos posted on Instagram of people have been altered with either a filter or other technical modifications–which means they’re often not showing what people really look like, they’re showing the “perfected” version.
The version with clear skin. The version with slimmer legs. The version that doesn’t exist.
For a child with low self esteem, they may scroll through Instagram seeing all of these “perfect” girls and assigned female at birth with “perfect” skin and “perfect” bodies–this may cause their to feel worse about herself because they doesn’t look like those girls, even though they don’t even look like that in real life.
While the researchers agree that it’s not realistic to “ban” filters or photoshop, they are pushing for these platforms to step up and work out a way to let people know an image isn’t showing reality. This would allow teens to see that they’re comparing themselves to something that’s no more real than a fairytale.
We need to teach our children how to use social media in healthy, positive ways that help them connect with others–not degrade their sense of self-worth to how many “likes” they can get on a photo.
If you believe your child is struggling with a mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.
Solstice is here for your child with low self esteem
Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls and assigned female at birth often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.
Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage people with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.
For more information about how we can help your child with low self esteem at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.