Study Reveals the Worst Social Media Platform for Mental Health

May 25th 2017

Almie Rose

The link between low self-esteem and social media has been explored before, but a new study purports to identity which platform is the worst.

The study, from the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement, evaluated five popular social media platforms to determine the effect they have on the mental wellbeing of their users. Researchers surveyed around 1,500 individuals from the ages of 14-24, Mashable reports.

The number one "worst" app for mental health and wellbeing?



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The study identified photo-sharing site as having the worst negative impact on "self-expression and self-identity" and "body image."

"One half of 14-24 year old surveyed said Instagram and Facebook exacerbated feelings of anxiety," the researchers found, while "seven in 10 said Instagram made them feel worse about body image."

The next worst is Snapchat, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

Which social media tool was considered most beneficial?

YouTube was considered "best for wellbeing" based on its ability to project "awareness and understanding of other people's health experiences" as well as "self expression." 

RSPH asked young people for their reactions on social media, and Instagram was quickly identified as being the most problematic. One man explained, "they try to compare themselves to people on Insta and they don't know what these people are like [....] It's quite a depressing thing if you feel you're climbing up to get somewhere but you're never gonna reach."

Even celebrities aren't immune to feeling the pressure. Rapper Bow Wow sparked a meme called "The Bow Wow Challenge" when he was found to have posted a fake photo of a private jet on his Instagram; he was actually flying commercial.

You can watch RSPH's full video and find more statistics from the report here.