Research says Instagram makes us ‘anxious, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled,’ but I could have told you that

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Research says Instagram makes us ‘anxious, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled,’ but I could have told you that

I mean, groundbreaking

A study was just released alerting the entire Instagram-using world to the fact looking at photos of hot girls with really aspirational lives will make you feel inadequate.

With 91 percent of young adults engaging in social networking, it’s no coincidence rates of anxiety and depression have increased an astronomical 70 percent in the past 25 years, but how do we contain something so entrenched in our every day lives?

Professionals in the world of public health decided to weigh in on the issue with a new study, #StatusofMind, as a means of identifying which apps have the most negative impact on us.

After interviewing 1500 people between the ages of 14 and 23 about Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, findings revealed Instagram takes the cake, leaving users — particularly women — “anxious, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled.”

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People don’t post about the exam they failed, the job they didn’t get, or the way their hair looked when they woke up, and that’s where Instagram differers from platforms like Facebook or Twitter. In those spaces it’s cool to not care, but when it coms to looks, that might never be allowed.

You think you know a person because you follow them, but you don’t. You know their face — but only how how it looks turned to the light. You know their style — but only the leather jacket they want you to see. Stomach tucked in, body contorted — you know a very one dimensional side of this person. But you’re jealous, because you’re human.

“I don’t post photos I like because I know they won’t get the right amount of likes,” Madelyn, a junior at The College of New Jersey, told me. “Instead of my Instagram being a collection of photos I like, it’s a collection of photos I think other people will like.”

Americans check their phones a staggering billion times a day, with those between the ages of 18 and 24 averaging the highest amount: 74 times. When you spend so much of your day invested in the online lives of people you may or may not even know, you build for yourself mental images of people who don’t, in reality, exist.

“Why do some people get 300 likes on a selfie, while I can only get 30?” Meagan, a 23-year-old Instagram user, asked when I mentioned the study to her. “It has nothing to do with what you post,” Catherine, another user, said. “It’s so weird people get a billion likes on a picture of something they’re eating, meanwhile I post a gorgeous picture and it gets 40 likes. It baffles me.”

We carry in our pockets a window into the modified lives of thousands of other girls. The impulse to check in is powerful, but it comes at a price. We don’t get to filter our own lives, so when we’re only ever privy to the filtered lives of others, it’s going to be damaging to our psyche.

@carolinephinney

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