A new survey in the UK involving over 10,000 young people aged 12-20, has found that the use of social media sites can cause feelings of anxiety, fear and inadequacy.
The survey suggested that cyber-bullying is widespread, with nearly 70% of youngsters admitting to being abusive towards another person online and 17% claiming to have been bullied online.
One in three said they lived in fear of cyber-bullying, with appearance cited as the most likely topic for abuse. It is topics like this that has led youngsters to want to portray their lives and themselves in the most positive way possible. With nearly half (47%) saying they wouldn’t discuss bad things in their lives on social media, and instead are offering an edited version of their lives in a hope to increase followers and likes. It is these aspects of social media that are found to correlate with a persons self confidence.
Instagram was highlighted as the vehicle most used for mean comments, with 7% of young users of this social network saying they had been bullied, compared to 6% for Facebook, 5% for Snapchat and 2% for Twitter and YouTube.
Instagram has said that it is encouraging users to report bullying content. Policy chief Michelle Napchan stated “We know that comments posted by other people can have a big impact and that’s why we have recently invested heavily in new technology to help make Instagram a safe and supportive place.” This new machine learning technology is able to automatically block offensive comments from appearing on peoples accounts, as well as give the choice to turn off comments altogether, or allow people to make their own lists of banned words or emojis.