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Instagram’s Negative Effects On Teens

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Nowadays everyone uses instagram. Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service. It’s one of the most popular social media sites. People use it for entertainment and to post pictures of themselves and their lives. They also use it to see what their family and friends and their favorite celebrities post. There is a downside to it and it’s that it affects most teens in a negative way. Social media plays a role in unhappiness. It mostly affects teen girls. Instagram causes depression, low self esteem and anxiety among teenagers.

In the article “Yes, Instagram Is Making You Anxious, According to a Psychologist.” by Bodyandsoulau Instagram causes teens to become anxious. According to psychologist and behavioural expert Jaimie Bloch it’s true that the blue light in our phones messes with our hormones and confuses our system especially if you’re on your phone a lot at night. There are many reasons why time spent on Instagram makes you anxious. One reason is that it comes from a fear of failure. “This is the main anxiety trigger when it comes to Instagram, and it goes hand-in-hand with anxieties related to self-judgement, fears around the perceived perceptions others may have of you, and fear of missing out,” says Bloch.

Instagram makes girls and women feel insecure about their bodies and it makes them think that they are no good enough. They feel this way because people are adding filters and editing their pictures to make them look ‘perfect’. They feel they aren’t skinny enough, pretty enough, or popular. This causes them to have low self-esteem. Teen girls are going too overboard with the editing and end up looking unrealistic because they think that’s what they have to look like because it’s what they see all over social media. They see models on instagram and they ask themselves why don’t I look like that. They are looking at selfies on Instagram and not realizing that some people are using apps to change what they look like and that it is unrealistic. Most social media sites are thinking of introducing a pop-up warning to notify teens when they have been using the app for a long time and to indicate when a photo has been digitally enhanced. In the “Why Don’t I Look Like Her?” :How Instagram Is Ruining Our Self Esteem” by Cosmopolitan, Jenny Albright, who is also one half of the popular DJ duo Daddy Likes, admitted to asking her ex-boyfriend to delete a beach picture from last summer because ‘I didn’t like the way my body looked,’ she said. ‘I was leaning over in a way that makes your stomach roll. It just wasn’t a good look. Research from the University of Buffalo says that girls who base their self-worth on their appearance are likely to post more pictures of themselves on social media seeking validation. They seek validation because they want to be liked by everyone and want to be popular.

Instagram is ranked the worst out of all the major social media platforms in terms of detriments to the mental health of young adults. In the article “Study Says Instagram Is Ranked The Worst Social App For Causing Young People To Feel Depressed” published by forbes magazine says Instagram Is ranked the worst social app for causing young people to feel depressed. The study called #StatusOfMind determined that social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. That is why social media use is often linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep. There is evidence that proves that there is a link between social media use and depression. The more time you spend on social media the more depressed most teens are. In the article “Instagram Most Likely to Cause Young People to Feel Depressed and Lonely out of Major Social Apps, Study Says” by CNBC a survey was conducted of almost 1,500 Britons aged 14 to 24, it was found that young people were most likely to associate Instagram with negative attributes and low self-esteem, resulting in poor body image and lack of sleep.

In the article “Does social media cause depression?” by Caroline Miller, editorial director of the Child Mind Institute it says the level of depressive symptoms increased by 33 percent and during the same period the suicde rate for girls increased by 65 percent. Over that same time period there was a spike in reports of students seeking help at college and university counseling centers, principally for depression and anxiety. The difference between teens now and teens in earlier generations is that the teens now spend less time connecting with other people in person and spend more time connecting through social media. Because teens don’t connect in person they are less emotionally satisfying, leaving them feeling socially isolated. ‘The less you are connected with human beings in a deep, empathic way, the less you’re really getting the benefits of a social interaction,’ says Alexandra Hamlet, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Jerry Bubrick, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, observes that ‘FOMO is really the fear of not being connected to our social world, and that need to feel connected sometimes trumps whatever’s going on in the actual situation we’re in. The more we use social media, the less we think about being present in the moment.’ Instead we might be occupied with worrying why we weren’t invited to a party we’re seeing on Instagram or making sure we don’t miss a single post from a friend.

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Teenage girls compare themselves negatively to those who appear to be prettier, thinner, more popular, and richer. ‘Many girls are bombarded with their friends posting the most perfect pictures of themselves, or they’re following celebrities and influencers who do a lot of Photoshopping and have makeup and hair teams,’ explains Hamlet. Instagram shows up in surveys as the platform that most leads young people to report feeling anxiety, depression, and worries about body image. ‘Kids spend so much time on social media trying to post what they think the world will think is a perfect life. Look at how happy I am! Look how beautiful I am! Without that, they’re worried that their friends won’t accept them. They’re afraid of being rejected but when they get positive feedback they start to tell themselves what if they don’t like the real me.

When teens are on social media constantly they don’t get any physical activity or do any hobbies or activities or have fun outside. They miss out on learning a new skill or the joy being outside having fun. When you’re spending a lot of time on your phone, you have less time for activities. Now teens get a burst of joy or adrenaline when they get a notification, a friend request or when someone likes their post. Teen miss out on what’s going on around them. They talk as much because they communicate through social media. They hardly spend time with family. Social media also distract teens from doing homework or tasks that they need to do. They talk to friends through social media while they are studying which makes them loses focus. It takes away from there time for learning.

Teens lose sleep from being on social media up late or even all night. It affects their mood. Most teens look at their phone as they lay in bed trying to fall asleep. It’s the last thing they see. It’s the last thing they do. Hamlet says scrolling through social media can easily end up causing stress on teens. Once their on social media it’s hard for them to get off. They get sucked in. Teens have so much anxiety in them that it’s hard for them to go to school or do anything. Some teens even dropout because they couldn’t take the amount of anxiety they had. One teen patient, in intensive therapy for his anxiety disorder, told the Times that he “would constantly be judging my self-worth online” during high school. In the article “Social Media Is Fueling a Scary Trend for Teen Anxiety” it says that many apps, gadgets, and media platforms are carefully designed to manipulate our brains by hijacking pleasure centers, which young people have less ability to resist. Some neurological research indicates such systems may have long-term impacts on developing young brains.

Teens don’t know how much of a negative impact social media has on them. The experience is different for everyone. Social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. A study revealed that Instagram users who spend 2+ hours a day, on the platform, have higher levels of anxiety compared to those using Instagram for less than 2h a day. It not only affects teens emotinal and physical health but it affects their brains and development.

There are so many negative effects that instagram has but the top three are depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. There are so many teens dealing with these mostly because of social media. It harms teens and most of them don’t even know it. We need to have checks and balances in place to make social media less harmful when it comes to young people’s mental health and well-being.

Work Cited

  1. Bloch, Jaimie. “Yes, Instagram Is Making You Anxious, According to a Psychologist.” Bodyandsoulau,, 27 Sept. 2017,
  2. Chowdhry, Amit. “Study Says Instagram Is Ranked The Worst Social App For Causing Young People To Feel Depressed.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 31 May 2017,
  3. Fleming, Olivia. “’Why Don’t I Look Like Her?’: How Instagram Is Ruining Our Self Esteem.” Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan Magazine, 7 Oct. 2017,
  4. Gilchrist, Karen. “Instagram Most Likely to Cause Young People to Feel Depressed and Lonely out of Major Social Apps, Study Says.” CNBC, CNBC, 19 May 2017,
  5. Morris, David Z. “Social Media Is Fueling a Scary Trend for Teen Anxiety.” Fortune, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2017,
  6. Miller, Caroline. “Does Social Media Cause Depression?” Common Sense Media: Ratings, Reviews, and Advice,

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Instagram’s Negative Effects On Teens. (2021, September 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from
“Instagram’s Negative Effects On Teens.” Edubirdie, 29 Sept. 2021,
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Instagram’s Negative Effects On Teens [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 29 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from:
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