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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
© Young Health Movement
Worksheets and downloads
What's the best thing about social media and what's the worst? How can people use it safely and healthily?