5 Things Teen Girls Wish Their Parents Knew About Instagram

You don’t need to read Meta’s internal research to know that Instagram can be toxic for teens. Teen girls are particularly susceptible to content triggering depression or body-image issues. After September’s Wall Street Journal article revealed Meta knew of Instagram’s negative impact on teens, Meta claimed its internal research was taken out of context. However, the social media giant published a blog post containing the new features that Instagram plans to roll out next spring and that is intended to make the app safer for teens. As usual, some adults are making decisions about what’s best for minors. What do teen girls wish grown-ups knew about Instagram? Here’s what some U.S. teens really think of Instagram.

Instagram logo

#1. Tweens and young teens are particularly vulnerable to body-image issues

Instagram has a requirement for users to be at least 13-years old. Many teens, though, admitted they created their accounts as tweens. During those challenging middle-school years, Instagram made them feel like they weren’t measuring up.

#2. The pressure to accumulate likes and followers

teen girl taking a selfie

Teens point out that there is much stress involved in counting their likes and followers and comparing their numbers to those of their peers. Some have hidden them like counts, hoping to opt out of the competition. However, the peer pressure to keep those stats public still persisted.

#3. The Explore page can be quite hectic

The content displayed on the app’s Explore page is created by accounts that users don’t follow, so what appears there is often useless or even worse. Teens consider it risky going on there.

#4. Instagram can waste time, and setting limits is important

Woman on her phone
Teens scroll through Instagram when they need a break from responsibilities. Teens’ difficulties can’t be blamed on social media, but social media should be limited in favor of more physical, interactive activities that can make a child happier. Teens may go on Instagram only for a minute — and then emerge hours later. Some teens even erased all their content or the entire app temporarily because it drained their time and emotions. Instagram launched a Take a Break Tool encouraging users to take a break once they’ve been scrolling for a while. Still, it only counts consecutive minutes spent on the app, and it misses teens who pop in and out of Instagram.

#5. Instagram is a corporation that puts profit before its users

Teens realize that it’s important to keep in mind social media are big businesses. It is possible to use Instagram in healthy ways to stay connected with friends and have a good time. However, people should be aware that Instagram and other media are trying to make money off their users, and if that means exploring the mind of young children, that won’t stop them.