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The impact of Instagram and TikTok on the mental health of users

The impact of Instagram and TikTok on the mental health of users

Instagram and TikTok are the fastest growing social networks in many countries around the world, such as the United States. Despite its growing popularity, little research has focused on the association between specific use of Instagram and TikTok and a person’s psychological well-being.

James A. Roberts and Meredith E. David, both from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, US, investigated the relationship between the degree and type of happiness experienced by Instagram and TikTok users while using them, and their level of mental health.

The study authors examined 420 American adults.

Five aspects of how a person lives their Instagram or TikTok experience were taken into account: how focused they are on it (how much attention they pay to Instagram or TikTok while using it), how much fun they have while using it, and how much curiosity they have to see what’s new since last contact, intensity of telepresence (the degree of immersion in the “world” of the social network) and the degree of time distortion tested (how much you lose track of time while navigating Instagram or TikTok, eg spending hours on the social network when their intention was to a minute session.

The study found that telepresence is a key component in driving problem behaviors on social media, including addiction. Telepresence for Instagram and TikTok users has been associated with higher levels of addiction, difficulty focusing on other things, fear of missing out on interesting things on Instagram or TikTok, anxiety, and depression. The study revealed that 28% of Instagram users and 24% of TikTok users should be considered addicted if we follow the official diagnostic criteria.

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Meredith E David. (Photo: Baylor University)

Instagram and TikTok can provide an escape from everyday worries. But if used excessively, it’s a bad strategy for dealing with a person’s problems, David argues.

It is possible, David concludes, that immersion in this world shaped by the social network displaces the close and more important interpersonal relationships upon which our psychological well-being depends.

The study is titled “Instances of Instagram and TikTok Flow and Their Associations with Psychological Well-Being.” It has been published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking. (fountain: NCYT by Amazings)