Instagram Is The Worst App For Mental Health, Study Finds

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Jun 1, 2017 | Last Updated: Mar 20, 2019

Instagram Is The Worst App For Mental Health

Instagram has more than 400 million active monthly users. About 40 billion photos have been shared on this app so far, which is about 95 million photos or videos a day. On a daily basis, users like about 4.2 billion posts. Some estimates show that 51% of Instagram users access the platform on a daily basis while 35% say they use Instagram a few times a day.

This social media platform has taken over the internet by storm allowing us to share photos of everything we do throughout the day. The app is particularly popular among youth. It is a well-known fact that social media websites can have a negative impact on our mental health, but Instagram proved to be the worst in the latest study.

Instagram and Mental Health

According to the report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, Instagram is the worst social media application for young people’s mental health. For the purpose of the study, researchers analyzed 1479 people between 14 and 24 years of age on how social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter made them feel in a positive and negative way.

All participants were asked to answer 14 questions about each app including whether they experienced feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness while they were using these websites. The questionnaire also evaluated how the apps affected body image, bullying, and quality of sleep.

The questions were specifically designed to help the researchers determine the level of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that young people experienced after scrolling through their social media feed.

Based on the answers that participants provided, Instagram made users feel worse than any other app included into the study. Snapchat finished in second place followed by Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly, YouTube is the only platform that made participants feel somewhat better. All five apps included in this research were associated with tiredness and poor sleep which isn’t surprising.

Social Media Addict

Why is Instagram Bad For Our Mental Health?

These findings make you ask yourself what makes Instagram such bad news for mental health. The main reason for this negative impact is negative body image that most users after scrolling through filtered up photos day after day. Girls and women are more prone to poor body image since Instagram constantly makes them feel they are not pretty or sexy enough.

They are exposed to photos of perfect bodies and even when they know those photos are touched up in Photoshop to look that way, they still feel less confident. On Instagram, we don’t follow our friends, family members, and acquaintances, but celebrities and bloggers who are paid to visit some places and rave about positive experiences. Seeing endless amounts of photos portraying people enjoying life and having fun doing things or visiting places, buying stuff one can’t afford promotes a “compare and despair” attitude among users.

Protecting Mental Health on Social Media

This is just one out of many studies that confirmed the negative impact of social media apps on mental health. In order to feel better about yourself, try following these tips:

  • Spend less time on social media, even slightly reducing the time spent on these apps can provide great benefits
  • Create a self-appreciation folder on your phone
  • Determine what makes you feel the worst on each app and hide that content
  • Avoid spending too much time on Instagram’s Explore section
  • Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad
  • Turn off push notifications
  • Follow accounts that make you feel great

See More: Having Multiple Social Media Accounts Tied to Depression


Numerous studies have confirmed that social media apps can have a negative impact on our mental health. The latest research discovered that Instagram is, by far, the worst platform for our mental wellbeing, followed by Snapchat.

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