Yes, the entire world – and even the Internet – is talking about it. And not just Instagram, but the other social media channels too. However, we will talk about the leader in this group today, and how it is detrimental for today’s teenagers and younger adults.
Instagram was originally launched in 2010. Facebook acquired it in 2012 for $1 billion, in cash and stock (clearly it was smart enough to predict its business opportunities). Ever since then, the app has become the most addictive social network and arguably a teenager’s “first best friend.’ The site is mostly popular right now for its mature content, marketing opportunities, data collection, etc.
To identify the obsession users have on Instagram, Hootsuite did a survey in 2020 and found out that, “30 minutes per day is the average amount of time users spend on Instagram.” Note that this goes for all 1 billion users who have an account on Instagram.
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A sick obsession
We talked with Daina (fake name used to save identity) who started her Instagram account when she was 13. She still recalls the day when she created her Instagram profile.
“I was standing in front of the mirror; taking selfies, trying to figure out what DP will bring me the most likes and followers. I was so excited. My friend Mindy, who lives on the other block, also started instagramming last week and she already has 100 followers. I must have more. I put my hand around my hip, held my head high, made a pout, and took a snap.”
Daina shares how obsessed she got with Instagram from day 1. She was loving the experience – getting likes, shares, and comments started looking like the most important thing in the universe. She also shares how this grew into a fear of rejection and uneasiness.
“I would stare at my posts for hours and would really get anxious if it wouldn’t receive the expected number of likes and comments. I will keep revisiting my last post and calculate how many more likes and comments it has received as compared to the prior ones. If it would be less, I will wonder what went wrong. And this behaviour will repeat every time I will share a story or a post.”
At age 19, Daina was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
Examples like Diana abound.
Facebook knows it, but denies it
In September 14, 2021, Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook officials found Instagram harmful for teenage girls’ mental health and well-being in an internal research of March 2020. Despite knowing about its negative implications, Facebook continued doing business with Instagram as usual.
The scenario led to experts comparing the case of Facebook with Big Tobacco, which in 1950 claimed that its tobacco products weren’t carcinogenic.
Objectification and body image
The ability to recreate a normal self into something unrealistic and too perfect is what has swept the thoughts of millennials and generation Z. Besides, if you add a new filter, you get more likes; if you show more skin, you get more comments and followers.
Being an object of interest can work for celebs and personalities; it could bring more fame and glory to them. However, this can do the entire opposite for today’s teenagers and younger adults. It can cause serious health concerns, mental trauma, eating disorders, stress, depression, anxiety disorders – the list can be really long.
If you are a teenager or adult, it’s time you treated Instagram as a part of your life, and not your whole life.