Report: Instagram can be toxic for teens

Data shows social media app particularly harmful to teenage girls

Researchers say social media app Instagram can be harmful for teenage users.
Researchers say social media app Instagram can be harmful for teenage users.

A new report has found that Instagram can be toxic to teenagers.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a report that finds the photo-sharing social media app is harmful to a significant percentage of teenagers, particularly teenage girls.

Citing studies from Facebook, which owns Instagram, from over the past three years, the journal reports that 32% teenage girls said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. And for teens experiencing suicidal thoughts, Facebook traced the issue to Instagram in 6% of American users.

Researchers pointed to Instagram’s “Explore” page, which shows users popular curated posts, which are potentially harmful. The culture on the social media app is harmful in itself, researchers say, as users tend to only post the best pictures, skewing users’ view of reality.

However, Facebook concluded that a large percentage of teenagers are not negatively harmed by its app. The company is currently developing a version of Instagram for kids.

Related: Facebook working on Instagram for kids under 13


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