Instagram is a must-have app for everyone nowadays, mostly the younger generation. The platform has changed how people used to socialize. The platform that emphasizes a healthy and positive lifestyle is ironically setting the new norms to get validated by strangers through Instagram likes, which is the biggest reason why Instagram is toxic.
This image-based app has been gaining the most attention from the audience because of its compelling asset images. There is nothing wrong with using the platform as long as it does not affect your well-being and mental health. But constantly scrolling on a platform with images edited and re-edited with layers of filters and photoshop is bound to affect you.
Since the launch of Instagram back in October 2010, the platform has gained over 1 billion active users, with an oppressive number of 100 million pictures being shared every day. We don’t know how many more will be uploaded by the time I finish writing this. Not only this, but Instagram also gains a massive revenue annually while we upload and compare our pictures to unrealistic lifestyle and beauty standards.
The harmless little hearts present below every post are the biggest reason why Instagram is toxic. The white hearts turn red every time a user likes our pictures, and when the likes don’t reach the number we wanted, it starts affecting our well-being.
Breaking Down The Toxic Culture of Instagram
Below, we have tried breaking down the different aspects which clearly emphasize on the toxicity of the platform and how it is affecting the lives of so many innocent people worldwide.
Why is Instagram Toxic?
Instagram is toxic mainly for the growing teenagers and young adults as they have just stepped into the actual world and are still trying to get a hold of it. At such a sensitive age where one is already trying to get validation from schools, colleges, newly started jobs, the added pressure of social media attention becomes too hard to handle.
Everyday studies show how social media can have adverse effects in increasing the anxiety and deteriorating mental health of a person. Social media platforms like Instagram instigate the constant seeking of attention and validation in teenagers from strangers. Now and then, we read so many horror stories on how far a person can go to get more likes than somebody else on Instagram.
Though the intention of Instagram might not be to increase insecurities and vulnerabilities in the hearts of young people, the damage has been done. However, things worsen when they see highly photoshopped pictures of the people around them carrying unrealistic standards of both beauty and lifestyle. It is then one’s vision starts to become distorted to a new level.
How is Instagram Promoting Toxicity?
The answer to this question here is straightforward. The app has become a go-to place for people actively showcasing their lives day and night. Every individual here is the narrative of their own story, even if it’s too far gone from their realities.
Instagram has promoted the opportunity for anyone to come here and become popular by showing a side of themselves that is not true. Even though the platform has always made it clear that they want people to express themselves as they are without the fear of being judged, we can see that people are evaluating and comparing themselves to others rather than being judged by others.
The influencer culture on Instagram also plays a significant role in affecting an individual’s mental health. The youth comes on the platform and sees how a regular high school or college-going individual has become a successful influencer. They imagine themselves in that person’s place and start comparing everything from the lifestyle they have and the clothes they wear.
They fail to see that multiple brands and sponsored content back up the Influencer industry, and even though they work hard to achieve what they have, they do have a team behind them to keep everything up to date.
Though the work that influencers are involved in is not wrong, it does not take a lot of time for a growing teenager to get influenced. The influencers also try to do their bit and spread positivity and self-care through their posts and Instagram reels.
Is Instagram Taking Initiatives to Stop the Toxicity?
If we look at the larger picture, the platform itself hasn’t taken any steps to reduce the growing culture. Though, back in 2017, Instagram did release a few moderation tools that use machine learning to detect spam and offensive comments, along with those that may be discouraging to others.
However, this does not make much of a difference to the ever-growing toxicity of the platform. The feature is as helpful as taking out water from the ocean with a bucket. The tool will only eliminate the comments that violate the Instagram Community Guidelines. The posts that promote depression, anxiety in youth are still lying on the platform untouched and undamaged.
There are many influencers on Instagram that are taking up the responsibility and spreading body positivity images on the platform. They cherish love in all body sizes, without discriminating the type, color, or shape of an individual. One such body-positive influencer is Candice Huffin.
Candice Huffine was once a model and late became a marathon finisher. She is also the creator behind Day/Won, an activewear collection that comes in all shapes and sizes and cherishes the body positivity journey.
Instagram has indeed redefined our way of socializing, and we have become more connected than ever to people. But all that is happening only in the online world, you may not see it, but the truth lies in the fact that the platform has made us more distant than ever in our relationships. There isn’t only a wrong side to the platform; Instagram has its positivities as well. The platform is a great place to excel in your career and increase your brand name through images and posts and will forever have an open stage for spreading body positivity and an expression of self-love.
The only thing that we, especially the youth, should look after is the hidden toxicity that can influence their minds quickly. The power of social media is so much vast that we still cannot see how it can damage our mental health and become an epitome of negativity and toxicity.
Feature Image Credits: Medium