When Tiktok got banned by the Indian government in 2020, it made me glad and relieved. But now I realise it was an ineffective step as far as our mental being is concerned. I did not realise that Instagram and Facebook were already lined up to fill the void and willingly pick up the baton of hatred and anxiety from Tiktok. Tiktok died but its soul reincarnated in the form of Instagram reels.
You may not have realized but this American app is slowly but surely making you hate your own self. It is prompting teens to harbour suicidal thoughts and face increased anxiety and depression. The Wall Street Journal in an eye-opening report recently revealed its harrowing impact on children and even adults in some cases.
Instagram creating a toxic environment
Instagram is addictive in nature. The short-crisp 1-minute videos make users dangerously stick to their phones for hours. Studies have shown that Instagram’s special emphasis on ‘best moments’, filters that enhance skin tone or lighten the eyes, and the dominance of influencers who promote a glamorous lifestyle, can create a toxic environment.
This is leading to body-image problems and eating disorders in girls and women on Instagram. In May last year, the UK’s National Health Service had slammed Instagram for the same.
The UK’s top health agency had accused Instagram of not cracking down on the sale of ‘Apetamin’ drug on its platform. Mind the fact that ‘Apetamin’ is a weight gain drug being peddled by many influencers on the platform. Apetamin is often used by women who desire a more curvaceous figure; however, it also has serious side effects including liver failure.
Instagram— not an app but a drug
Researchers say that Instagram is a drug. Its overuse must be discouraged among teens and especially girls. They start comparing themselves to big influencers and think they are not enough beautiful and talented.
And believe me; this app is also disastrous for students and learners. A student who is used to consuming content in a flash of a minute will lose his patience and self-restraint that are vehemently required in academia. So there are ample chances that spending hours watching Instagram will render you a bad learner and less confident.
If Tiktok was a mind-controlling tool, Instagram is no less than a drug either! Its algorithms are designed to make you a slave of technology. This becomes even more alarming in the face of Instagram seeking to release a separate app for kids aged below 13. Yes, you heard it right! Instagram is launching its “Instagram kids’ app.” This will certainly make our kids more vulnerable to the digital poison that Instagram serves on its platforms.
Facebook pauses Instagram Kids’ app program after backlash
However, Instagram is also facing strong pushback from parents and various health groups. For now, Facebook has paused the launching program of the Instagram kids’ app for carrying out internal research on the app.
Facebook Vice-President and Head of Research Pratiti Raychoudhury recently said that “Our internal research is part of our effort to minimize the bad on our platforms and maximize the good. We invest in this research to proactively identify where we can improve.”
Excessive use of mobile phones and these disastrous apps could prove fatal for Children. And as several types of research show, its ramifications are already visible. So, it’s high time the government take exemplary actions against Instagram reels as it had taken in 2020 against Tiktok.