Instagram is the worst social media platform for young people's mental health

- You probably already know too much social media use can affect your mood, but when it comes to degrees of severity, is one platform better or worse than the others? A new study suggests that’s the case, and the researchers have bad news for those of us who love scrolling through our friends’ photos online.

The report, conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement in the United Kingdom, ranked Instagram the worst social media site and YouTube the best for young people’s health. Twitter was considered the second-least harmful, followed by Facebook and Snapchat.

Researchers surveyed 1,500 people ages 14 to 24 and asked them to rate how the five social media platforms typically affect various areas of their mental health and physical well-being, including their sleep and relationships, and feelings about their body image, loneliness, anxiety and depression.

YouTube was the only site that resulted in a “net positive” effect on young people’s health, researchers found.Instagram may have a negative impact on young people because it inspires envy and mental illness, experts speculated in a news release for the report.

“It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well-being — both platforms are very image-focused, and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said in the release.

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