Instagram needs to get better

Children’s Mental Health Affected by Instagram


Hiding the likes of a post do not do anything (N. Darnall).

By Emilia Schwartz

Ever since its creation, social media has sparked debates on whether it harms or benefits mental health. Instagram, in particular, is known to cause insecurity for many children on the app. Research shows that young girls will see older women with faces full of makeup and think why don’t I look like that?’ In response to this, Instagram has started the pointless effort of hiding likes on posts. 

“I hadn’t even noticed it,” said sophomore Haile Gartzkie.

It is a hidden feature as many do not know about it. If nobody knows about a system in place, then there is no point in that system. Furthermore, most influencers do not hide their likes.

Young people can still see the thousands to millions of likes that influencers have, and know that they do not have that much. Even if the likes are hidden, follower count is not so young people can still see that they have fewer followers than influencers.

However, this does not contribute to the core of the harm social media has on young kids. While likes are a large part of the insecurity of kids created by the internet, the worst harm is it distracts kids from their own reality and they focus more of their attention on social media than the things happening in real life.

Young girls see women more beautiful than them, but the truth of why they do not look like her is because it is impossible. Makeup, filters, and plastic surgery make up what is on the internet, but not reality. Social media creates a divide between the real world and the internet world. Hiding likes does nothing.

Research shows that social media can give short-term feelings of happiness from dopamine. However, it is followed by feelings of jealousy and anger. This is a problem that can never be completely fixed. However, there are things that parents can do to help their children protect themselves on social media.

Firstly, parents should be honest with their children from a young age. They should know that the world of social media is different from reality. Additionally, parents should check in on their children, even when they are teenagers, to make sure they are okay. The negative effects of social media can be dealt with through conversations and prioritizing mental health. Instagram itself also has a feature that allows the creator to disable comments on their post.

“I think that this feature is taking a step forward,” senior Olivia Tatone said.

In regards to helping children with their mental health, students can reach out for help.

“We have different anonymous ways for speaking out if students do not feel comfortable,” associate principal Danyce Letkewicz said.

Instagram needs to start providing more support for children on the app, including more age restrictions. Making the app 16+ will prevent young children from seeing content that will only harm them as they age. Instagram can make sure only 16+-year-olds download the app by making it 16+ on the app store.