If you Google ‘Instagram’ you’re most likely to be met with a series of news stories around mental health and the negative effect the photo sharing platform has on young people’s self esteem. I was going to post some links here, but there are far too many to choose from.
Although Instagram is aware of the damaging effect it can have on young people’s mental health and has addressed the issue when it comes to more serious cases of depression, it doesn’t change the negative impact it can have on the every day user. Terms like FOMO have origniated from the platform and highlight the fear of missing out that users experience when they see other users tagged in event posts.
I stumbled across a video today that I feel perfectly captures the issues associated with young people and social media usage.
The video itself is engaging, offering tongue in cheek humour and true to life depictions of young people using social media in their every day lives to appear more exciting/interesting/attractive to their peers.
But it carries a darker message. Research conducted by the charity shows that half of young people are unhappy with their physical appearance, frequently using editing and filters to make themselves look better.
Personally, I think this video is an effective way to remind people that social media expectations are very different from reality. Whether you’re the girl who puts her make up on before she gets out of bed in the morning, or the group of people all sat on their phones instead of interacting, the video demonstrates behaviours that resonate with everyone.
The involvement of BooHoo, with their 16-24 year old target age range, shows an excellent understanding of their corporate social responsibilities in line with their demographic. The popular fashion brand has regularly used social media to sell their products by engaging with influencers and ranking in the top 20 viewed Facebook Live videos.
To address the issue of young people’s social media usage and self image in this collaboration demonstrates an awareness of the wider implications of promoting their material on social media using stylised and filtered photos. Whether the brand will opt for more realsistic posts on their own accounts remains to be seen, they are a fashion brand after all.
That being said, showing users that the photos shared on social media by their peers are posed, edited and heavily filtered, may start to combat the way young people view and use social media to have a positive long term effect on their mental health.