Instagram is wreaking havoc on young females, and the platform is well aware of this.
While scrolling through the Instagram feeds of well-known, glitzy influencers like Kylie Jenner, Daisy Keech, and Madison Beer, adolescent Chloe Weinstein can’t help but feel envious of their jet-set lifestyles and compare her own body to theirs.
The 18-year-desire old’s for breast implants has been fueled in part by her self-consciousness.
“I get down on myself because I’m often thinking: ‘How could [the influencers] look so fantastic in bikinis, flaunting all the wonderful things they do in locations like the Bahamas?'” According to Weinstein’s comments, published by The Washington Post.
This Randolph, NJ high school freshman is one of the 32% of young female Instagram users who have been affected by the platform. They discovered it exacerbated negative body image, low self-esteem, anxiety, sadness, and suicidal thoughts in some people.
Facebook, which acquired Instagram nine years ago, commissioned the research, which is scheduled to be released in March 2020. According to the Wall Street Journal, leaders including Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, have mostly ignored the criticism.
Newton wrote on Instagram that while she believes the WSJ editorial “focuses on a restricted group of findings and casts them in a negative light,” she added that “we stand behind this research.”
Positive social comparison and positive self-image continue to be top priorities for us,” she added.
However, the efforts of social media influencer and TED Talk speaker Victoria Garrick aren’t appreciated. Despite noting Instagram’s advantages, such as the ability to foster global relationships, the 24-year-old criticizes the platform’s promotion of “inauthentic” doctored photographs and other overblown aspirational content that young females may find difficult to attain.
Affirming his former role in the issue, Garrick started an Instagram lifestyle account in 2015 and admitted: “When I first got on Instagram, I felt a need to portray an image. I used photo editing software to create a highlight reel of my best shots, which I posted online.”
After seeking counseling for her mental health as a result of the ongoing fakery, she made a complete 180-degree turn and began uploading unfiltered photos of herself, displaying her true, flaws and all. The Los Angeles native, whose Instagram following has grown to 337,000, now uses the hashtag #realpost in the hopes that other influencers and celebrities will follow suit.
Carolyn, a 16-year-old Arizona native who is undergoing treatment for an eating condition, is excited about this advancement. In order to protect her family’s privacy, the high school junior requested that her last name not be used. She believes Instagram was responsible for some of her poor exercise habits. The “Explore” feature of the platform, which uses artificial intelligence to offer users with curated content similar to what they’ve already seen, only made things worse. Carolyn was deluged with so-called “fitspiration” posts after she expressed an interest in bodybuilding and similar routines.
“If this is what social media tells me is healthy, then I’m going to start doing that,” she said. “I aspired to be like them.”
The pictures were all of buff gym goers with flat stomachs and wasp-like waists. Diet advice appeared under such names as “The Golden Pyramid of Fat Loss” and “Top Fat Loss Supplements,” as well as cutesy visuals and photos of “healthy” meals.
Because Carolyn now works with a dietitian, she is more aware of the harm Instagram can do to young people who are especially at risk.
“Instagram doesn’t care about our well-being because they’re not going to filter out all the nasty material that could harm our brains,” she said. “They merely spit out the things that young girls my age click on — fitness exercises and messages about calories — which lead to fanaticism about our health.”
Carolyn stated that rethinking the “Explore” algorithm should be the first step in curbing harmful content on Instagram. If you “like” or follow a questionable post or account, she lamented, it’s a “slippery slope” to other questionable information.
It’s clear that some sort of accountability is required… “I’m not sure what that would look like.”
Instagram’s ability to make modifications is limited because the platform’s content is user-generated. People like Garrick argue that enforcing a filter ban would be nearly unfeasible, given the size of the platform.
Instead, Garrick invites celebrities and influencers to take matters into their own hands by being honest about digitally improving their photographs. PhotoShop users should place a hashtag or label on their images to indicate the changes they’ve made, according to Garrick.
Despite the prevalence of filters, it’s impossible to avoid seeing photos of the world’s most beautiful people on social media. For Gwenyth Harrington, a member of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) adolescent and teen support group, images of Gigi Hadid and Taylor Swift were some of the main elements behind their eating disease.
She was also harmed by the “thinspiration” posts on the network, which often sparked rivalry among young girls to seem the thinnest among their friends.
It took two hospitalizations for the 17-year-old from upstate New York to realize the harm caused by social media.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow!'” To maintain my health, I must cut ties with people like diet accounts and certain celebrities,'” Harrington explained. Rather, I’ve started following a young woman who consistently supports body positivity in all her postings. It’s been a big help and has made me feel a lot better.