Instagram has been a platform for people to post their favorite pictures, whether they be relatable memes or just fun vacation snaps, since its release in 2010. However, recent studies have come out showing that Instagram is the number one social media platform that causes depression.
What started out as a friendly way to share some memorable photos has evolved into a competitive arena where people judge others based on the number of likes and followers they have.
Emerging on top are the celebrities, which is not surprising considering their loyal fan bases, and right under them come the so called “Instagram models.” These are basically beautiful people (or photoshop experts) who are paid to take post pictures of themselves flaunting said beauty around the world. Of course these accounts will only post the perfect pictures from the identical 90 pictures they have clouding their camera roll, but they are not alone in their quest for perfection.
With the rise of so many “perfect,” accounts, many people believe there is a certain standard that has to be met. A photo with less than 20 likes in two minutes? Delete. This has led to the widespread use of photoshop and perfectly planned “candid” pictures. With people constantly seeing so many “flawless,” people and pictures, there has been an increased amount of negative effects on users.
We have all caught ourselves scrolling down our feeds and thinking “Wow this is a great photo, I wish I looked like that,” or “Wow I wish I lived like that,” but the reality of things is that those things are not reality. Nobody in real life looks good after rolling out of bed or eating a pile of nachos. Double chins, messy hair, stretch marks, and food on your face are all real things. It’s not always easy to realize this when you’re scrolling through the explore page (somewhat) in your feelings listening to Drake at three in the morning. For an app that is supposed to capture life’s moments, Instagram users seem to only be posting the best ones or the edited ones.
There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but it creates a gap between real life and fantasy and an even bigger gap between people, making it easy to compare yourself with others. Even though people may understand this in the back of their minds, they still believe the masks these models put on when flashing their seemingly amazing lives. This has become a major problem for this generation’s youth use as they find themselves being negatively impacted by this popular social media platform.
Along with setting unrealistic expectations, Instagram has laid out a platform for cyberbullying. While they do have regulations in place, usually a comment has to be reported then it will be reviewed and if it breaks standard regulations, it will be deleted. However, it takes time to go through the review process and for bigger accounts who may get more hate, it may be difficult to report every comment. Because of this, hate comments are usually still seen and it could lead to devastating outcomes.
Instagram seems to be a combination of several social media platforms: the stories on the on the feed page is just like Snapchat, the photos, likes, and comments are also reflected from Facebook, and now you can even bookmark posts kind of like Pinterest. It is a beautiful trifecta of social media for social media enthusiasts. While it can be an easy and fun way to connect with family and friends, just remember there’s more than meets the eye.