Table Of Contents
- What is Instagram?
- Why Social Media is Bad for You
- Instagram Rated WORST Social Media for Kids’ Mental Health
- Meta Sued by Mother Over Alleged Role in Daughter’s Suicide
- The Instagram Suicide Network: BBC Stories Video
- Senators Accuse Facebook of Ignoring Research Showing Instagram Harms Teenage Users
- The Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files”
- What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe on Instagram
- Get a Free Instagram Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media site that allows users to post pictures and videos to their profiles and share stories with friends. Stories, which can be photos and video, disappear after 24 hours. The site offers filters for images that change how photos look. Meta Platforms, Inc., doing business as Meta and formerly known as Facebook, Inc., purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.
Why Social Media is Bad for You
Social media sites like Instagram can help teens connect and make new friends. However, for some users, sharing their life online brings added social burdens. About 40% of teens polled by PewResearch.org  feel social media makes them feel pressure to only post content that “makes them look good to others or will generate a lot of likes or comments.”
Additionally, social media can be hostile, leading to cruel forms of cyberbullying. The poll found that 45% of teenagers feel overwhelmed by the drama found on social media. Nearly half of teen social media users often unfriend or unfollow other people on social media. 78% of the teens polled stated that they unfollowed or blocked users because of too much drama, and 52% cited bullying as the reason to unfollow or unfriend someone.
Instagram Rated WORST Social Media for Kids’ Mental Health
According to a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, Instagram is the worst social media channel for mental health, while Snapchat comes a close second.
Researchers in the study evaluated 1,179 people living in the UK, between the age 14 to 24, who were asked how Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat made them feel about themselves.
The social media platforms were also rated on the basis of their impact on the quality of sleep, anxiety, depression, fear of missing out (FOMO), loneliness, bullying, and body image issues. The report largely reflected what the participants felt after going through the photo feeds in all the platforms and was conducted to understand their impact on one’s mental health.
Out of these 5 social networking sites, the Instagram platform was found to make the volunteers feel the worst. Instagram was slammed for making people feel insecure, especially women and girls. The primary reason behind the same is said to be the number of filters people use to appear absolutely ‘perfect’.
These overtly edited, perfectly ‘candid’ and the ‘golden hour’ images, can instill a strong feeling of comparison and despair, making users feel like they are not doing enough in their lives. The sad part is that people actually compare themselves to a photo-shopped version of a photograph, which is carefully chosen, after many trials and errors.
Instagram essentially created the practice of applying layers of filters and carefully editing photos before putting them online for the world to see. Furthermore, witnessing someone else’s false version of perfection can lead to lower levels of life satisfaction and even drastically affect one’s mood, the study found.
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Meta Sued by Mother Over Alleged Role in Daughter’s Suicide
A Connecticut mother has filed a lawsuit against Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, as well as Snap, alleging that the platforms cause a kind of addiction her daughter suffered before committing suicide at age 11 in July 2022.
Plaintiff Tammy Rodriguez claims that the sort of “stickiness” these platforms are built to engender is inherently harmful, especially to young users like her late daughter Selena.
The complaint states that Selena “struggled for more than two years with an extreme addiction to Instagram and Snapchat,” a claim backed by an outpatient therapist who had “never seen a patient as addicted to social media” during their evaluation.
Although technically too young to be on either platform per their terms of service — Instagram and Snapchat state their minimum age for account creation is 13 — Rodriguez points to the absence of parental controls, as well as the lack of strong age verification checks, which made policing her daughter’s access to the services nearly impossible.
“The only way for Tammy Rodriguez to effectively limit access to Defendants’ products would be to physically confiscate Selena’s internet-enabled devices,” the lawsuit alleges, “which simply caused Selena to run away in order to access her social media accounts on other devices.”
Rodriguez further contends that use of the services caused her daughter to suffer from depression, sleep deprivation, school absences, eating disorders, self-harm and led to her eventual suicide.
The Instagram Suicide Network: BBC Stories Video
Senators Accuse Facebook of Ignoring Research Showing Instagram Harms Teenage Users
A bipartisan U.S. Senate Committee hearing recently pressed an executive from Facebook to explain company documents published by The Wall Street Journal which found that Instagram makes body image issues more damaging for many teen girls and increases anxiety and depression in teen Instagram users.
“Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early,” said U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D., Massachusetts.). “Exploiting the peer pressure of popularity and ultimately endangering their health.”
Markey also stated that Facebook was acting like Big Tobacco because the company was pushing a product, Instagram, that their top executives know is harmful to young people, but the company “pushes it to them early.”
The Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files”
A Senate subcommittee hearing in October 2022 disclosed a “bombshell” report by Frances Haugen, a former Facebook executive who amassed corporate documents known as The Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files. Haugen testified about the internal documents, and Facebook published a statement and two of the documents (Part 1, Part 2) about its internal teen user research.
“The damage to self-interest self-worth inflicted by Facebook today will haunt a generation,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), chairman of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee.
In Haugen’s testimony, she alleges that Facebook continues to choose “profits over users’ safety, and keeps users and regulators in the dark about its actions,” and that “Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children.”
Haugen went on to state that Facebook “hides behind walls that keep the eyes of researchers and regulators from understanding the true dynamics of the system.”
According to the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” series, the company’s rules and algorithms foster discord, favor elites, and allow human traffickers and drug cartels to use its services openly.
What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe on Instagram
Parenting experts agree that parents should take a hands-on approach to their child’s social media usage and focus on the positives. Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a parenting expert recently interviewed by TODAY , recommends these 5 tips to keep kids safe when using Instagram:
1. Wait Until 13. Gilboa advises parents not to allow children to use social media until they are 13. This is the age which most companies require children to be to use it.
“I always recommend waiting until your child is 13 before you allow them to click the link that says, ‘I’m 13’ and can join Instagram,” Gilboa said. “Their brain just needs that extra time to develop, to be able to see some of the things that you want them to see and to not be fooled by some of the things that you don’t want them to be fooled by.”
2. Think About Social Media Before Your Child Uses It. “Parents absolutely need to think about what comes with being on social media and think about if their child is ready,” said Dr. Candice Jones, an Orlando, Florida pediatrician. “It starts with the parents first understanding all the dynamics of social media on a child and what that can mean and what can happen and how that could affect what they’re exposed to.”
3. Supervise and Talk. While some children and teens will understand that a filter created flawless skin or a story shows a perfectly curated moment in time, not all will get it. That’s why it’s important for parents to know what their children are seeing and doing on Instagram, at least for the first few years.
4. Set Limits. Social media becomes problematic when teens overuse it.
“What we are concerned about is the negative aspects — when it gets too much,” said Dr. Petros Levounis, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “And there are two aspects to that. One is the sheer volume that some kids get on social media. If they end up neglecting important other developmental milestones in terms of athletics, in terms of academics, in terms of dating, in terms of developing interpersonal relations outside the electronic medium — that does have negative consequences.”
5. Focus on Creating a Positive Brand. When sitting down with children to observe their Instagram usage, parents don’t have to only talk about the negatives. They can use positive posts as examples for their children.
“Encourage kids to figure out what their personal brand is,” Gilboa said. “What do they want to be known for? What are the adjectives they want people to use to describe them and then how can they use their social media to promote that stuff?”
Get a Free Instagram Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Personal Injury & Accidents Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Instagram Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if Instagram harmed you, or if your child used Instagram and then committed suicide, developed an eating disorder, or attempted to commit suicide, was hospitalized for emergency psychiatric care due to an Instagram addiction or bullying, you should contact our law firm immediately.
You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit, and our lawyers can help you receive fair compensation.