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Social media + its impact on young people’s mental well-being
Young Health Movement
What’s the best thing about social media?
Woman: It allows me to keep in contact with my friends.
Man: It’s interesting to see what other people are doing without being nosy about it.
Man: You can find the best memes on the internet.
Man: I just like posting pictures of myself.
Can social media be bad for mental well-being?
Man: Yeah, 100%.
Woman: Yeah, 100%.
Woman: Oh, definitely, yeah!
Woman (right): Yeah.
Woman (left): Definitely!
Woman (right): Yeah, it can.
Woman: Everything on social media I find very curated.
Woman: You can create your own, kind of like, lifestyle online so you can have a fake lifestyle.
Woman: I know that I’ve spent maybe, like, half an hour taking, like, the perfect, like, studying picture.
Woman: You do feel a bit intimidated.
Man: You go on your explore page and then you see somebody with, I dunno, a better car than you, better grades than you, like, a fitter girlfriend than you ... Like, it could, it could be anything and you’ll always want more.
Woman: I think it’s just made things really superficial.
Man: They try and compare themselves to people on Insta and they don’t know that these people are, like, photoshopping in the background and doing all this extra stuff. It’s quite a depressing thing if you’re climbing up to get somewhere but you’re never going to reach.
Which is the worst for mental well-being?
Woman: Instagram, I think?
Man: Instagram, by far. Was that right?
Man: Between Instagram and Twitter.
Woman: Probably Facebook.
Woman: Snapchat actually.
Man: Honestly, I think Tinder. Real talk, real talk!
Man: Was I wrong?
We asked almost 1,500 young people about their experience of social media and mental well-being. This data allowed us to rank the social media platforms from best to worst.
Health and well-being league table (best to worst): YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram
Best for well-being: YouTube
- (happy face) Awareness + understanding of other people’s health experiences, self-expression
- (shocked face) Sleep
Worst for well-being: Instagram
- (happy face) Self-expression, self-identity
- (shocked face) Sleep, body image
½ of 14- to 24-year-olds surveyed said Instagram and Facebook exacerbated feelings of anxiety.
7 in 10 said Instagram made them feel worse about body image.
2 in 3 said that Facebook made cyberbullying worse.
We are calling for …
- a pop-up notification for when you’ve spent a certain period of time online
- a watermark on photos to indicate that they’ve been digitally manipulated
- PSHE lessons to include advice on how to use social media in a healthy way
- intelligent analysis to identify those who may be at risk from poor mental health and discreetly direct them towards help.
For more information visit www.yhm.org.uk
What's the best thing about social media and what's the worst? How can people use it safely and healthily?