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Social media loses popularity among younger generations

As concerns about the negative impact of social media on young people continue, the popularity of the apps is waning. Those born in the late 1990s and early 200s are turning their back on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.

A new survey of 10,000 people found just 22 percent of respondents between the ages of 7 and 22 named Instagram as their favorite app, down from 31 percent in 2020. An even broader survey of 84,011 people ranging in age from 10 to 80 years old found that “the cross-sectional relationship between self-reported estimates of social media use and life satisfaction ratings is most negative in younger adolescents.”

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Ultimately, survey results suggest that social media use negatively affects younger users’ body image, life satisfaction and self-esteem. This disenchantment with social media is part of an ongoing trend.

Last summer, leaked internal data from Meta, the parent company behind Instagram and Facebook, revealed the brand is aware of just how harmful the photo-sharing app can be, particularly to teen girls’ self-esteem. Researchers for Meta reportedly studied teenage users’ mental health for three years. The results showed 32 percent of teen girls who “felt bad about their bodies” said their problems were worsened by Instagram use. Additionally, the research suggested teenagers feel compelled to use apps such as Instagram, even if it causes problems in their lives.

“Teens told us that they don’t like the amount of time they spend on the app but feel like they have to be present,” one Instagram research manager said. “They often feel ‘addicted,’ and know that what they’re seeing is bad for their mental health but feel unable to stop themselves.”

Finally, a survey from last December showed that 56 percent of Gen Z members believe “social media has led them to feel left out by their peers.” Furthermore, 75 percent of young women on social media apps reported feeling prompted “to compare themselves to peers.”

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice