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Social media burnout: health risks from Instagram

Social media burnout: health risks from Instagram


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Instagram users in the whirlpool of illusions

The Instagram photo platform is one of the most successful social networks. Entire professional branches are now building on this. People present their vacations, their food and their clothes in the best light and allow others to admire them. Particularly successful users even get money and gifts from companies to present their products. This type of display has a special appeal, which can even have an impact on health for many users.

Vanessa Häusler is a graduate of the Media and Communication Management course at the SRH Fernhochschule. In her bachelor thesis, she examined the health risks posed by the popular Instagram photo platform. She came to the conclusion that intensive use is associated with an increased risk of chronic stress, sleep problems and a poor immune system. Although many people are aware of this danger, most do not seem to notice or suppress the consequences for themselves.

Social media burnout through Instagram

In her bachelor thesis “Effects of social networks on the health of users of generation Y”, Häusler describes the effects that the social network Instagram can have on the health of users. The constant flood of information coupled with the fear of missing something creates a permanently elevated level of stress, which can lead to sleep problems and a poorer immune system. According to the study, this can lead to the same symptoms as a burnout, which is why this is also referred to as a social media burnout.

If you don't constantly access Instagram, you're missing something

The core of the study was a survey of around 300 participants, all of whom were born between 1981 and 1995. The focus of the survey was on the general well-being of the test subjects. "The study showed that Instagram has an impact on how many users feel about being up-to-date," explains Häusler. If the platform is not visited regularly, many participants feel that they are no longer up to date.

Contradictory self-assessments

Many participants cultivated intensive use of the platform. 64 percent said they had access to it before getting up, otherwise they feel they are missing something. This state represents a certain form of dependency without the users seeming to be aware of it, because 70 percent of the respondents indicated that they could do without Instagram. Around 60 percent of the participants could imagine that intensive use could lead to health problems, but did not find any effects on themselves. "However, there were also some test subjects who were able to observe psychological problems, moments of depressed mood and sleep problems," emphasizes the media expert. These are common side effects of a burnout.

Tips for healthy Instagram use

Häuser warns that such a social media burnout does not develop overnight, but slowly creeps in, which is why it is not noticed by many people. The development could take months to years. "Like smoking, social media is an addiction where you know that it can have consequences, but always thinks that this only affects others," sums up the communication scientist. She advises keeping the number of subscribed pages as low as possible to avoid a flood of information. In addition, you should set a daily limit for use, says Häusler. (vb)

For more information on burnout, see the article: Being Burned Out - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.

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