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Do you have mixed feelings about Instagram too? I like sharing things about my day that I love or find interesting, and I like seeing updates from my friends and personalties-slash-brands I "like." But I could only imagine how my 13-year-old self would feel in a world where everything is either worthy of a post or not—where every outfit, mood or experience is deemed likable or shareable and, if it's not, then what would that mean?

While my adult self can process the fundamental differences between an online and IRL experience and take Instagram for what it is (i.e. a one-dimensional expression of our far more complex selves) I’m not so sure my adolescent self could. I’d like to see data that suggests otherwise but for now there is another study, parsed through in this article in Forbes, that clearly demonstrates why Instagram is bad for teen girls and their developing brains. 


Some highlights: Instagram, more than any other social media platform, engenders more comparison between “me” and “you.” More comparison, in turn, leads to anxiety and depression. Additionally, increased exposure to “idealized” images is linked to unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy. The most upsetting takeaway is the direct correlation between the number of “likes” a photo receives (many of which are manufactured and purchased) and its ability to alter the way a photo is perceived—irregardless of the quality of the content. In other words, the brain literally can not help but like a post more when it's "well-liked" than a post that isn't very "liked" at all—even if the person hitting like probably doesn't like the actual content it is "liking."


Talk about a twisted popularity contest we all unwittingly partake in. I wonder how long we will engage with each other like this? I wonder if the next generation will? I'd like to think there is a healthy and positive way for teen girls— for everyone— to use social media but the current science reveals, well, that it's pretty complicated.

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