Instagram: Life updates and personal perception

By: McKenzie Welch

Instagram has been around since October 6 of 2010, and it has changed more than ever thought possible when it was first launched. It was first created as a means to share life updates so friends and family could see what you were up to, but it has now turned into something more. However, Instagram turning into something more cannot always be perceived in a positive light.

Instagram can still be used to share life updates, but there are now more strings attached. You can shop off of Instagram, you can follow your favorite celebrities, you can track your likes and comments, you can get brand deals, and more. All of these things can have severe impacts on mental health, especially as you’re growing up.

Instagram has been proven to increase the amount of people with depression, concerns about body image, low self-esteem, socially anxious tendencies, and other mental illnesses and feelings. In fact, a self-reported survey from ‘The Wall Street Journal’ found that 1 in 3 teenage girls struggle with body image issues due to Instagram and social media as a whole.

The issue with Instagram is that, despite it being promoted as an app for sharing moments of your life, you only see people’s best moments. It is rare that someone will post a moment where they were at their worst, or where they were struggling. This creates unrealistic expectations for life that are extremely difficult to live up to. Especially when you’re young, and it’s hard to see that there is so much more to life than your teenage years.

From my personal experience, I can say there was a time where I felt that Instagram was detrimental to my mental health, and it most likely still has lasting impacts today. Whilst I just try to have fun with Instagram now, posting when I want, and whatever I want, I still struggle with the ideas of not living my life to the fullest, not being pretty enough, or missing out on important high school experiences.

The truth of the matter is that everyone lives their life differently, and I feel as though it is high time that users of Instagram start to express that. It is important for everyone to be who they are, and there shouldn’t be a need to put up a facade on social media, but society has made it out to be a necessity for many.

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