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Recently, it reported that Facebook knew Instagram was damaging to teens and the media company did nothing about it. Psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri questions just how many people are benefiting from using the app, noting that most young girls and women feel worse about themselves, particularly when it comes to appearance, after logging on. She explains many people end up feeling bad about themselves after digesting a stream of filtered photos and end up making unhealthy comparisons between themselves and people online.
She says parents might be nervous to curb their kid's use of social media, but the psychologist urges parents to put limits on how much their children can use apps like Instagram and make sure they are doing things that make them feel good about themselves out in the real world.
Teens Isabel and Destinee tell The Doctors they feel stressed trying to post the perfect shot on Instagram and feel pressure to alter their true appearance with filters before posting something. The teens conducted a study by taking a social media break and they monitored how their digital detox impacted their physical health. While taking the 3-day break from the apps, they used fitness trackers to monitor their vitals and discovered their heart rate and stress levels decreased. Additionally, they slept more and had better quality sleep.
The teens also discovered posting something on Instagram gave them a higher spike in heart rate compared to a moderate physical activity like walking. The two are expanding their research and sample size by studying the effects of social media on young people across the country. They hope to find out how to create a healthy relationship between teens and social media, noting that going cold turkey is close to impossible. They want to identify the positives aspects of these platforms and also pinpoint the negative elements and figure out how to strike a balance.
Dr. Hazzouri suggests parents treat social media like they would a video game, allowing 30 minutes of use and then logging off to do other things in the real world.