Monday October 18, 2021

Instagram seeks to curb mental harm to teenagers

AFP
September 16, 2021

San Francisco: Instagram on Wednesday defended itself against a report that the social network harms the mental health of young girls, saying it plans to play down posts promoting myths about beautiful bodies.

Instagram head of public policy Karina Newton pushed back against a Wall Street Journal report that cited Facebook research as showing its photo-centric Instagram service takes a toll on teenagers, especially girls.

"The research on the effects of social media on people’s well-being is mixed, and our own research mirrors external research," Newton said in the post. "What seems to matter most is how people use social media, and their state of mind when they use it."

She cited a Harvard study noting a "see-saw" of positive and negative experiences USteenagers have on social media. The Journal reported that Instagram has played down harm done to millions of young people who connect daily, particularly when it comes to feeling shame about their bodies after seeing what is branded beauty in imagery there. "Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the world, so they’re going to exist on social media too," Newton said.