Are Social Media Platforms Hurting Mental Health Among Latinos?
A survey of 1,500 young people was conducted regarding how social media platforms impact their health, anxiety, body image, depression, and self-esteem. Surprisingly, the survey showed that Instagram negatively affected young people’s body image, sleeping patterns, and gave them the fear of missing out (FOMO). Shirley Cramer, who is with the group behind the survey, told CNN:
Platforms that are supposed to help young people connect with each other may actually be fueling a mental health crisis.
According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos, blacks, and whites equally use social media networks, but each group prefers certain social media networks. The Pew Research Center indicates that Latinos were more likely than whites to use Facebook (73% to 71%), Instagram (34% to 21%) and Twitter (25% to 21%). Latinos were also more likely than blacks to use Facebook (73% to 67%), but Latinos were less likely than blacks to use Instagram (34% to 38%) and Twitter (25% to 27%).
According to federal data from 2013, around 16% of all Latino adults experienced a mental illness. According to research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, on average, young adult Latinas born in the U.S. have higher rates of depression and suicide attempts than non-Latinas. Matt Keracher, who is with the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, states:
We’re not asking these platforms to ban Photoshop or filters but rather to let people know when images have been altered so that users don’t take the images on face value as real. We really want to equip young people with the tools and the knowledge to be able to navigate social media platforms not only in a positive way but in a way that promotes good mental health.
It is important to seek help if you are suffering or believe you are suffering from mental health issues and to limit the amount of time spent on social media networks to avoid the negative effects that they can have.