It’s official: Facebook is aware that Instagram, which it owns, is detrimental to your mental health. According to Instagram researchers, “32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.” according to a presentation posted to Facebook’s internal messaging board in 2020 and released by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” the researchers said in a 2019 slide.
Instagram and Self-Esteem
Before we look at the tools we have at our disposal, it’s crucial to understand why we might need to more carefully manage our feeds. “Aspects of Instagram compound each other to create a perfect storm,” according to Instagram’s own research. The app’s addictiveness, the urge to share only your greatest moments, and the emphasis on beauty are all factors.
It’s all about the likes on social media platforms like Instagram, which encourages us to publish carefully edited images of ourselves and our lives and compare ourselves to other people who are doing the same. Some of the most popular content shows extremely attractive people in extremely attractive settings doing extremely attractive things.
How to Make Instagram a Healthier Place
You can make Instagram a healthier place to hang out in three ways. You can utilise features to limit your app usage, such as limiting it to specific periods or ensuring that you don’t spend too much time on it. You have more control over who you follow, yet this does not prevent you from seeing adverts or recommended followers. You can also utilise Instagram’s own tools to get more control over what you view.
Limit the Time
Limiting screen time is easy with Apple and Android phones and tablets. They’re in Settings > Screen Time > App Limits on iOS, and in Settings > Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls on Android. You can then establish daily restrictions for your app, such as limiting access to one hour each day.
Make Instagram Enjoyable
There are numerous options within the Instagram app that you can use to customise how the app functions for you. They’re scattered throughout the Settings page, which you can reach via your Profile. You can ban potentially offensive or triggering content by going to Settings > Privacy > Hidden Words; you can also disable Like and View counts and limit who can tag or message you by going to Settings > Privacy > Posts.
Throw out the Bad Stuff
Settings > Account > Sensitive Content Control is definitely worth a look. This allows you to boost the strength of Instagram’s sensitive content filter, which has three levels (two if you’re under 18: the Allow option is unavailable to you): Allow, restrict, and restrict some more. Allow disables the filter; Limit, the default setting, tries to keep you from seeing upsetting or objectionable information; Limit Even More is more severe.