by Samantha Reynolds.
Produced for online by Melissa Mackay.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter were developed to help people connect, but a recent study from the UK has found that it may be fueling a mental health crisis.
According to the study, image-based platforms are suggested to be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.
Participants listed other negative effects such as increasing body image worries, bullying, and feelings of depression and loneliness.
But some social media users say they don’t upload pictures for the glory of ‘likes’.
Popular Instagram user Mercedes Ash says social media is just a way to document her daily life.
“It’s to look back on what I got to do and see all the good memories,” she says.
Miss Ash says the issues of anxiety and depression come when people are not confident enough in themselves.
“For the people that are new to social media, or younger and don’t know their identity yet, it can make them feel as if they need to be someone they’re not,” she says.
Catholic School Parents of Queensland executive directot Carmel Nash says the openness and accessibility of information on the internet can cause problems.
“It can be quite dangerous because these young people aren’t really knowledgeable or worldly,” she says.
“They see and hear things they don’t quite understand and if it’s not supervised and they don’t have anyone to talk to about it, the consequences can be quite dire.”
Ms Nash urges parents to be active and know what their child is doing.
“Being able to talk to your kids, that’s the big thing,” she says.
Despite the risks, users still rank social media favourably in areas of self-expression, self-identity and community building.