Social media has established itself as a vital part of millions of lives around the world, and Malta’s definitely no exception.
In a recent survey carried out by The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement, the most popular social media platforms were ranked in order of their impacts on the mental health of young people.
The survey, #StatusOfMind, asked 1,479 youngsters aged 14 to 24 on issues like self-expression, self-identity, sleep and body image. And of all the major social media platforms, Instagram was ranked the worst for young people’s mental health. Interestingly, YouTube was actually ranked the best.
The young people were asked to score how each of the social media platforms they use impact upon issues such as anxiety, loneliness and community building. “The platforms that are supposed to help young people connect with each other may actually be fuelling a mental health crisis,” the RSPH said in its report.
Even though Facebook landed in quite a neutral spot, two in three people said that it made cyber-bullying worse. While the two platforms sit in different parts of spectrum, Instagram was actually bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. Instagram currently has 500 million active users, with 95 million photos being uploaded on a daily basis. The most followed account is Selena Gomez, with over 85 million users.
Beyond simply publishing their survey’s results, the RSPH concluded their report with a call for change. Their suggestions include everything from pop-up notifications to let people know they’ve spent a certain amount of time online, to specific watermarks on photos indicating which shots have been digitally manipulated.
What about Malta? Which social media platforms do you think are the most harmful to young people’s mental health? Help us find out here: