Scientists from Ditch the Label, an anti-bullying charity, conducted a study to determine how social media can cause anxiety among youth – specifically through cyberbullying on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram. Overall, the study found that more than half of the participants had been sent a nasty private message and slightly less than half of participants said they had a nasty comment posted on their profile. For Instagram, however, the researchers found that overall, more Instagram users had been bullied on the platform compared to Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. The survey also found that there is a connection between intensive social media use and mental ill health – nearly a third of young people reported that social media has a negative impact on how they feel about themselves. Additionally, nearly half of female participants stated that social media had a negative impact on their self-esteem. The study suggests that social media companies need to do more to promote positive mental health and wellbeing – the young participants overwhelmingly stated that they wanted social media companies to do more to promote positive mental health and interactions on their platforms.
The Children’s Society safety net: Cyberbullying’s impact on young people’s mental health – Inquiry report (2017). London, England: The Children’s Society. https://youngminds.org.uk/media/2189/pcr144b_social_media_cyberbullying_inquiry_full_report.pdf