Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites, especially among teens. It is a photo-sharing mobile application that allows users to take pictures, apply filters to them, and share them on the platform itself, as well as other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Instagram is starting to take over the most renowned social networking site Facebook with its 700 million users as the most popular social networking site for youths. However Instagram is not only about editing, uploading, liking photos or videos, there’s more to it. Many people and users think that through instagram people would only be able to connect to their friends and see what they are doing. It is not really the case. Instagram is a platform where users can do business, see what the celebrities are doing and most importantly can feel like a superstar if they can manage to have a lot of followers.
Owing to the rapid rise of the popularity of Instagram, there have been many questions raised about whether it has more negative or positive impacts on its young users. Various Instagram users use the app differently and can therefore experience different effects through the app. However the negative effects experienced by the users seem to be more impactful than the positive ones. But before you delete the app, there might be some good news for you. Though the site is now seen as hazardous for youths by many, we cannot still overlook the positive impacts it has on its users’ lives.
It lets you speak
Youths feel that social media sites such as Instagram empower them to speak about issues that are important to them. This is one of the positive effects social media has on youths. It is very important for youths to express themselves and speak up for what they believe in and Instagram allows just that. When youths take to Instagram, they are free to talk about issues that are important to them. They can share whatever they want. For instance- a young lady can openly post photos or stories related to feminism and women empowerment whereas a young man can also post something about the changes they want to see in their country.
It keeps you connected
Another positive side of Instagram is that it helps you stay connected to others. Social media sites such as Instagram have been proven to make youths feel more connected to their peers. This allows youths to constantly stay updated and connected to their peers which, in turn, helps foster a sense of belonging.
Is Instagram perfect?
Although Instagram is totally fun, it can also be baffling for the brain. It has been shown to wear down the self-esteem of its users. One of the biggest reasons why youths suffer from such emotional problems is because of the “perfect life” notion that Instagram models, also known as ‘influencers’, depict to its young followers. The photos and videos the influencers share create a great impact on the daily lives of the youths. The constant parade of people looking better, making more, eating good food, spending more and traveling further can create a feeling of inadequacy or even failure. The trend of wearing well-known designer’s bedazzled and gorgeous salwar kameez, sari or lehenga for a wedding invitation is mostly influenced by the models or influencers that the young ladies see on the instagram. But everyone cannot afford the lavishness; hence there is a rise in negative emotions like jealousy and envy among the users.
Don’t believe what you see always on Instagram
The youths believe what they see. It is impossible for a person to be completely happy in life. Whereas on Instagram there are some models that tend to show that they live a fairytale life. And the youths think that this is the reality. This is clearly not the whole truth. The Instagram models themselves have to go through a hard time in order to show off ‘the so-called perfect life’ they live in to their followers. The branded clothes and accessories they wear, the flawless body they have - they didn’t get this in just a few days, it took them years to come to this position or the images they post are ‘largely curated, filtered and photoshopped versions of themselves’. When youths take to Instagram and see these photos, they begin to compare themselves to those they see on their screen and begin to feel that their bodies are not good enough. This is very harmful as they fail to realize the intense manipulation of these photos and strive to fit this distorted version of reality. In the process of doing so, youths are very negatively affected as they often develop mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. Furthermore, it has been observed that over half of teens using Instagram have been cyber bullied. Even though Instagram has implemented a “report” feature for inappropriate comments, youths are still heavily bullied over Instagram stories, in the comment sections of their own photos, or through direct message. This destroys the feeling of togetherness and promotes feelings of anxiety, depression, and alienation.
In the morning when they wake up, the first thing most of them do is to check their phone. Instagram has recently rolled out a new programme to provide users with stats on how much they use the platform. The activity dashboard shows the average amount of time a user spends on the platform every day. But even with a feature like this, Instagram can be hard to turn off. Such addiction is not good for anyone and it can kill your valuable time.
Instagram was not developed to harm or violate its users. The purpose of this site was to connect people and spread positivity. Instagram is one of the biggest and powerful platforms for the young generation to keep them updated with their surroundings. Everything in this world has some pros and cons, so does Instagram. Now it is you (the users) who will decide to what extent you will allow this site to influence you.