Instagram Posts: False Life Narratives that Ultimately Effect Mental Health

There are currently many different forms and types of social media outlets that people use on an everyday basis, and each form of social media serves for a different purpose in people’s lives. For example, the Facebook Messenger application, WhatsApp, and the QQ app are primarily designed for long-distance instant messaging, so that people can stay in touch with coworkers, friends, and family across the globe, while Tumblr and VSCO are primarily to scroll through both your own and others’ photos. Instagram is an application, used both on mobile devices and desktops, that users use to edit and publish photos and videos with captions.

Instagram is a great platform to keep up to date with news, pop culture, celebrities, fashion bloggers, artists, friends, and family, because people constantly post new photos about their lives. It is also easy to keep up to date with people’s lives after Instagram introduced Stories, where users can share their day through photos and videos temporarily rather than permanently on their profiles. Instagram is a good way to visually express yourself through photographs and videos, and people enjoy creating a specific aesthetic on their accounts, and looking at others’ accounts. Although formatting and scrolling through these photos is entertaining, it is also often deceiving. This video, uploaded by Ditch the Label, showcases 11 different people attempting to create the “perfect” Instagram picture by faking a pleasing aesthetic or by altering reality to something that is “Instagram worthy”. The video downbar shows Ditch the Label’s definition of an “Insta lie”. They state that an Insta lie means “an intentionally false representation of real life on [Instagram]” (“Are”). People on social media platforms, especially Instagram, publish their best moments and not their bad ones, which gives the audience a perception of a “perfect” life that is full and happy.

This deception is especially harmful to kids, teens, and young adults who only see the best of the lives of their peers, friends, and celebrities, who they are greatly influenced by and look up to. According to a BBC article, Instagram was rated #1 in a “poll [that] asked 1,479 people aged 14-24 to score popular apps” based on mental health issues such as “anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image” (“Instagram”).  A Yahoo News article also addresses this poll and clarifies that this ranking is most likely to do with Instagram’s impact on lack of sleep, fear of missing out, body image issues of teens, and depression.

Due to Instagram’s false representation of life narratives, kids, teens, and young adults are misled to think that the celebrities that they look up to, their friends, and their peers’ lives are more aesthetically pleasing and happy than they are in reality, which can ultimately harm and damage their mental health.

Work Cited

“Are You Living an Insta Lie? Social Media Vs. Reality.” Youtube, uploaded by Ditch the Label, 20 Feb. 2017,

BBCNEWS. Instagram, 11 Nov 2017.

BUSTLE. Instagram, 11. Nov 2017.

CLAUDIASAHUQUILLO. Instagram, 11 Nov 2017.

KIMKARDASHIAN. Instagram, 11 Nov 2017.

“Instagram Rated Worst Media for Mental Health.” Yahoo News, 18 May 2017, Accessed 11 Nov 2017

“Instagram ‘Worst for Young Mental Health’.” BBC, 19 May 2017, Accessed 11 Nov 2017.

“Introducing Instagram Stories.”, 2 Aug. 2016, Instagram, Accessed 11 Nov 2017.

SOMETHINGNAVY. Instagram, 11 Nov 2017.


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