Instagram is exploring ways to understand what kinds of posts make viewers feel bad, then "nudge" them to content more likely to make them feel good Photo: AFP

Instagram seeks to curb mental harm to teenagers


Instagram on Tuesday defended itself against a report that the social network harms the mental health of young girls, saying its 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 U.S. teenagers have on social media.

A teenager may enjoy connecting with friends on the social network one day, then clash with the same person another day.

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.

The internal research pointed out that teenagers accused Instagram of increasing anxiety and depression, according to the Journal.

Instagram has worked to address problems of bullying, suicide, self-injury and eating disorders exposed at the platform, Newton said.

Instagram is now exploring ways to understand what kinds of posts make viewers feel bad in comparison and then "nudge" people to content more likely to make them feel good, according to Newton.

"We're increasingly focused on addressing negative social comparison and negative body image," Newton said.

"We're cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help point people towards content that inspires and uplifts them, and to a larger extent, will shift the part of Instagram's culture that focuses on how people look."

Instagram is making a version of the social network for children 13 years old or younger, a move opposed by child safety advocates.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Like your local liquor store starting an AA chapter in their back room?

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instagram is great BS

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the social network harms the mental health of young girls,

It is a valid concern. Jonathan Haid has some research on the issue. However, I wonder what Instagram wants to do about it..... append glamour shots with warnings, like the tiresom "information about Covid"?

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Instagram, I agree, it harms teens more than it helps them, it's good in so many ways for adults and businesses , but at the same time it is causing so many problems for parents and family members.

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Perish the thought that parents should actually get involved here, supporting their daughters, boosting their self-confidence, guiding them on their online activities. If it is such a problem, Taliban teenage girls from using social media, to keep them safe. If you are that worried about the beauty issue, outlaw cosmetics.

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The irony of the thing causing teenagers mental harm now trying to prevent mental harm. I guess that’s a good thing.

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Does instagram require a login to use? If yes, move along. Block it in your firewall or in your /etc/hosts file(s). That's pretty easy. Here's how:

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Instagram seeks to curb mental harm to teenagers

How about going out of business?

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