Why does social media make you feel sad?

Do you ever feel depressed or anxious after spending time on Snapchat or Instagram?

Turns out, what you’re feeling is normal. A recent study shows that most young people feel the same way you do after using social media for a while.

The Royal Society for Public Health released a report in 2017 called #StatusOfMind, after surveying teens about their overall feelings about Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. The goal was to see if social media was having an overall positive or negative impact on your state of mind.

Teens were asked to give each social media platform a rating of positive or negative in a wide range of areas including; sleep, awareness, emotional support, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, and more.

The Good: The  news looks good for Youtube, which is the only social media platform that teens rated overall as positive. There’s a little bit of a negative impact on bullying, fear of missing out and body image — and yeah — you’re probably watching Youtube instead of sleeping, but overall Youtube isn’t hurting you.

The Bad: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are making you feel worse. Instagram, with its filtered images and pictures of friends doing things you aren’t doing is causing you the most harm, according to the survey.

The study says that when you look at Instagram, you feel lonely, anxious, depressed, like your body doesn’t measure up, and like you are missing out on things.

When you use Snapchat, you don’t have as many body image issues, but you’re really feeling like you’re missing out and most teens reported higher levels of bullying on Snapchat.

Since both services rely on images and filters, there’s a good reason they’re making teens feel worse. Social media is bad about presenting people’s lives the way they want to be seen and not as they are. So, if it looks like people are having more fun than you, it is because social media lets them “show off” and give you the best parts of their lives without any of the bad stuff.

Full disclosure: Teens use Snapchat and Instagram more than Facebook and Twitter, which may explain part of the reason that your favorite platforms performed so poorly. There’s evidence that suggests that increased use of social media at any age causes more depression and anxiety.

What You Can Do About It: Remember that Instagram and Snapchat can present a fake reality. Your friends, probably look at your snaps and Instagram photos and feel like they are missing out, too.

Also, if you are the type of person who gets depressed or bothered by social media, try to limit it a little. If it’s getting the best of you or you’re taking it personally, the benefit of social media is that you can put the screen down and make it go away for a while.

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