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The Ups and Downs of Instagram on adolescent girls’ social and emotional development

ABSTRACT

Social networks have grown out of Web 2.0 and people refer to social networks as a Web 2.0 innovation. Where Aguiton & Cardon (2017) mentioned that Web 2.0 is now so widespread, and it is difficult to define the boundaries and characteristics of services it covers. The emergence of the Internet and social networking sites (SNSs) has enabled individuals, in particular, adolescents to create and share information online easily. In contemporary society, many adolescents use social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and so on to interact with each other and receive information posted over the platforms. Social networking sites have opened the door to a world of possibilities for adolescents, however, this paper will be focused on Instagram and the effect of Instagram on adolescent girls’ (aged 13 to 18 years) social and emotional development. The role of Instagram has offered users the opportunities to create idealised images of oneself, where something that Instagram is arguable centred around. And thus, the paper will also argue about how self-presentation on Instagram has impacted adolescent girls on both social and emotional development.

The emergence of the Internet and new technologies has redefined the ways individuals, in particular, adolescent girls connect, disseminate information, and express themselves with others. This is because social media is nearly universal among teenagers (Weinstein, 2017) and it has intertwined with their daily life. Lin et al (2014), claim that the use of social media is constantly evolving and ubiquitous, as a result of the increasing number of adolescents having a profile on social networking sites. There are a variety of social network sites that serve different purposes that enable individuals to communicate and connect with each other, be entertained with the content posted online, as well as get up-to-date information or news from around the world. However, the role of Instagram has been growing exponentially among adolescent girls, where self-presentation came into place. Rui and Stefanone (2012) mentioned that image sharing sites like Instagram play a key role in an individual’s performance and hence impacted self-presentation online to satisfy and fulfil audience expectations. However, even though the widespread popularity of social media platforms like Instagram is well-established, the increasing numbers of adolescent girls using Instagram to interact, displaying, and receiving feedback has impacted their self-presentation online and thus, connects to social and emotional development.

First of all, according to Boyd (2015) social media has become a central part of contemporary digital life around the world. The rise of social media and networking has integrated into our daily lives. Especially adolescent girls in contemporary society, as they spend much time on social networking sites – in their relationships, for entertainment and in education, where anyone who holds a smartphone can potentially connect with people online. This being said, social media has enabled adolescents to have online interaction with weak ties, this is because social media enables adolescents to connect to online global communities based on shared interests.

One increasingly popular social networking site among adolescent girls is Instagram. Instagram is a platform that enables users to post and share photos with friends or the public. Where Tobin and Chulpaiboon (2016) stated the idea of people who use Instagram to maintain their social connection are more likely to share photos on the platform as it helps them to meet their social interaction goals. Furthermore, Antheunis et al (2014), also stated that adolescents, especially adolescent girls, in today’s society are more likely to meet new friends and get to know each other through social networking sites. Social networking sites make it easy for adolescents to communicate with each other, most importantly is free. Supporting the role of social connection, Uhls et al (2017) mentioned that adolescents report that social media like Instagram help them to understand their friend’s feelings and they feel more connected to them. Besides that, Manacher (2015) argues that 78 percent of adolescent girls made friends who shared common interests online and stayed connected with them. In terms of how adolescent girls make and maintain their friendships online are through comments and likes. Hence, this means that adolescent girls share photos on Instagram could actually help enhance their social connection with their peers and lead to a positive impact on their social development.

Furthermore, one of the important aspects of adolescents’ social lives is their social capital. According to Antheunis et al (2014), social capital refers to “the benefits one receives from one’s relationships with other people distinguished between bridging and bonding social capital.” This is because adolescents are going through puberty where they are adjusting to the physical and emotional changes, (Antheunis et al, 2014), especially adolescent girls, social networking sites use thus can enhance adolescents’ social capital. As mentioned before that social networking sites offer various channels for adolescents to stay connected with weak ties, which in turn may enhance social capital. Instagram in particular, could help enhance adolescent girls’ level of social capital. Where Frison and Eggermont (2017) stated that Instagram users can easily express a positive attitude toward any content by simply clicking the Like button. As a result, users who frequently use the Like button reported to have a greater bonding social capital, thus a positive impact on adolescents’ social and emotional development. Adolescent girls update and post their personal information and photos on Instagram, where Thomson (2008) stated that social media has become a platform for the younger generation to share their everyday lives to the public and it could be seen as another way of “communicating” with friends and family. For instance, adolescents posting and sharing photos on Instagram of a recent experience could be seen as a way of updating their friends and family about their life events. Moreover, it has been stated that social network sites have created opportunities for adolescents to create and join groups based on their common interests with the weak ties (Antheunis et al, 2014). Where it has reported that adolescents who share common interests, such as brands, sports, celebrities, and bands are likely to follow each other on social network sites to strengthen the relationship with the weak ties as well as the communities. For instance, many Taylor Swift’s fans created a fan-based Instagram account to engage with those who shared or like the celebrity, where Anderson and Jiang (2018) argues that most adolescents say social media has had a mostly positive effect tended to stress issues as it helps them not only to connect with people online but it helps them to build trusting relationship among members and enhances their social capital. Therefore, social networking sites like Instagram have enabled adolescents to enhance their social connection as well as social capital, especially adolescent girls, as girls spend far more time using social media than boys. In short, social network sites like Instagram do play an important role in adolescents’ social and emotional development.

With the rise of social networking sites among adolescents’ lives, some concerns that have been voiced due to the increased use of the Internet in general and social media in particular. As mentioned before, adolescents are increasingly engaged in social media, where they could explore various positive content through social networks sites including entertainment, humour, and content creation (Rodovic et al, 2017). However, there is a high possibility social media will impact adolescents’ well-being and emotion, especially adolescent girls, as previously mentioned that adolescent girls spend more time on social media compared to boys. Activities such as “checking for likes,” reading feedbacks or comments and so on could affect their self-esteem as well as well-being (Rodovic et al, 2017). Where Hunt (2018) stated that Instagram has been part of adolescent girls’ lives where many of them seek validation of the way they look on social media, which could also be understood as creating an idealised image of a specific ‘self’ to adjust their public images to audience expectation. The validation comes in the form of comments from friends, however, an image-sharing platform like Instagram can turn into a space of competitiveness, as influencers often become a topic among adolescent girls. Chua and Chang (2016) argue that adolescent girls may encounter and engage in upward comparison, where adolescent girls could compare with those who they believe to be better and thus, a positive impact on their social and emotional development.

At present, adolescent girls manage their self-presentation of beauty on social network sites like Instagram to meet personal and peer expectations. Where it is likely that they may receive both positive and negative feedback from the public regarding images that they share on the platform. In turn, positive peer-feedback could enhance adolescents’ self-esteem and well-being, alternatively, negative feedback decreases these outcomes. Yau and Reich (2019) mentioned that the importance of looking attractive online has reported in studies with adolescents, especially girls. Where this being said that social network sites have the ability to influence or have an impact on adolescents’ well-being through the replies and comments they receive from people who they may not know. Besides that, Booker et al (2018) claimed that female adolescents will be more likely to get an impact on their well-being compared to male adolescents. This is because, girls used social media more than boys where studies show that adolescent girls were chatting and using social network sites for more than 1 hour per day (Booker et al, 2018). Also, the role of Instagram came into place in adolescent girls’ construction and expression of their identities, thus negatively impacting their well-being. Where Rui and Stefanone (2013) argue that self-presentation on social media like Instagram, plays a crucial role in adolescent girls’ performance. This is because many adolescent girls present themselves according to the feedback, they received online to fulfil audience expectations, in turn, negative impact on their well-being therefore emotional development. Hence, it has been argued that although the widespread popularity of social media platforms is well-established, however, adolescent girls’ well-being remains controversial due to the influence of social media (Weinstein, 2018).

According to Weinstein (2018), adolescents’ social media use is not intrinsically harmful where different adolescent’s social media experience can positively and negatively influence their well-being. Where Hunt (2018) mentioned that some adolescent girls feel secure about the way they look through Instagram ‘likes,’ and it helps to boost their confidence and reassurance. As previously mentioned, with the advancement of technology and the rise of social networking sites, adolescent girls are now able to have a more direct connection with both of their weak and strong ties. According to Anderson and Jiang’s research, adolescent girls emphasise how social media has made it easier for them to communicate with friends and family, and they also mentioned that they felt less lonely or alone as social media created a space for them to interact with people (2018). On the other hand, based on an interview on Weinstein’s (2018) finding, one of the adolescents said that having a direct connection through social media platforms provides a daily source of positive emotion. For instance, adolescent girls who encounter depressed mood reportedly say that they are more likely to increase in Instagram posting. This is because posting and sharing photos on Instagram not only helps them to enhance their image in the eye of others but in a sense, it also helps them to find encouragement through positive comments (Frison and Eggemont, 2017). Where it could lead to a positive impact on adolescents’ social and emotional development as they are able to feel the connection with the weak ties by joining a community that they share a common interest with. However, it is undeniable that adolescents may be at risk of using social media, thus it is important to educate not only their parents on the consequences of high-level use of social media that could impact their future well-being. The generalization of ‘adolescent’ implies both males and females, however, this study focuses on adolescent girls. In sum, adolescent girls’ social media use could be both positively and negatively impact on their well-being and their emotional development depending on how an individual is using it.

According to Vermeulen et al (2018), 89% of adolescents use social media, and 71% use multiple platforms to connect and interact with others online. Hence, there are certain risks adolescents’ may face which could impact their social and emotional development and may lead to poorer physical and mental health in adulthood (Booker et al, 2018). Based on Vermeulen et al studies, adolescents aged 14 to 18 share their emotions on multiple social media platforms as adolescents are more likely to experience negative live events regarding family, friends, and school (2018). This is because adolescents have nearly unlimited access to peers through social media platforms, where adolescents in today’s society, especially girls tend to express and share their emotions through SNSs that can evoke both positive and negative feelings. However, it also depends on the feedback that users receive from peers online. Besides that, Vermeulen et al (2018) also stated that there are two needs adolescents are looking for when they share their emotions on SNSs: the need for personal expression and the need to receive feedback. Where social network sites could be seen as a platform that offers adolescents new opportunities for emotion regulation. Thus, there are potential risks and harms that adolescents may face such as social filters, triggers, cyberbullying, health self-expression, a sense of community and connectivity, and anonymously accessing mental health resources.

To lower the risks in social network sites, and on adolescents’ social and emotional development,  parents must become aware of the nature of social media sites as well as the time adolescents spend on social network sites. The term “Facebook depression” has been created due to the depression that develops when preteens and teenagers spend a lot of time on social media sites and according to Dawson (2017), it begins to show classic symptoms of depression. Research shows that adolescent girls in today’s society spend seven to eleven hours per day with different media where it has exceeded the typically recommended hours (Dawson, 2017). Although, not all adolescents spend that much time on SNSs, however, it is important to let adolescents understand the risks of social network sites. Also, parents need to help adolescents to understand and cope with their perceptions of the media content (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2017), and remind adolescents to have discretion when posting pictures and other personal information online. On the other hand, parents should help adolescents to understand the difference between ‘friends’ and ‘followers,’ as social network sites like Instagram offer adolescents the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world. Dawson (2017) claimed that parents should ensure that they are having regular conversations with their children about the use of SNSs. Although, it has been argued that although adolescents’ may encounter negative content on social network sites that may have an impact on their social and emotional development, Dawson (2017) claimed that SNSs help improve adolescents’ empathy, acceptance of diversity, social group acceptability, and respect for the elderly. In sum, adolescent girls may encounter negative and positive uses of SNSs that impact on their social and emotional development, hence, parents and school should take action and educate adolescents to enhance adolescents’ knowledge and understanding of the use of SNSs.

In conclusion, Instagram is affecting adolescent girls’ social and emotional development in both positive and negative ways. It is less likely that the current generation will reduce the use of social networking sites as social network sites have played a significant role in today’s society. Especially adolescent girls, as they will still be exposed to the positive and negative content of social network sites, Instagram in particular. Social platforms like Instagram will continue to evolve and are deeply ingrained into adolescents’ daily lives. Early adolescence represents a particularly vulnerable period of development, where adolescents are about to establish lifelong behaviour. Sharing photos on Instagram allows adolescents to be interconnected with their friends and family and at the same time could increase their well-being by receiving positive thoughts and feedback from peers. In order to prevent or reduce the risk of adolescents exposed to negative content on SNSs that may evoke or affect adolescents’ social and emotional development, parents should be aware of the time adolescents spend on SNSs.

References:

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Anderson, M., & Jiang, J. (2018). Teens, Social Media & Technology. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/

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26 replies on “The Ups and Downs of Instagram on adolescent girls’ social and emotional development”

Hi Kristina,

I’ve just finished reading your paper 🙂 I find your paper very interesting and insightful, and I can relate a lot to your paper since I always use Instagram^

I think that Instagram had a more negative impact on my emotional development because I tend to compare myself to others, and there were moments like you see pictures of people hanging out but you were not invited. Yet, I think that Instagram has a more positive impact on my social development because I can connect with my friends more often. Therefore, I totally agree with you that Instagram can enhance adolescent girls’ social connection, for example, it helps them to understand their friend’s feelings. Also, it is so true that adolescent girls can maintain their friendships through comments and likes. I also agree with you that Instagram can have both positive and negative impacts on adolescents’ social and emotional development, and it really depends on how they use it.

You mentioned that “adolescent girls may encounter and engage in upward comparison, where adolescent girls could compare with those who they believe to be better and thus, a positive impact on their social and emotional development”, I’m a bit confused about this, could you elaborate more on how upward comparison could lead to a positive impact on adolescent girls’ social and emotional development? Thank you so much 🙂

Great work on writing such an insightful and engaging paper!

The theme of my paper is quite different from yours, it talks about how social media encourages young people to participate in political movements, but feel free to check it if you are interested 😉
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/social-media-encourages-young-people-to-participate-in-political-movements-as-demonstrated-by-the-recent-political-movements-in-hong-kong/

Agnes

Hi Agnes,

Thank you for your comment. Yes that’s right! Also, I realised how likes and comments will actually affect an individual’s emotion where people in today’s society tend to seek validation through the photo they post on social media – Instagram. I do think that Instagram had more of a negative impact on my emotional development as I feel like we as a human will naturally compare ourselves to others, and thus increase our sense of insecurity.

Sorry for the confusion, by that I mean that – upward comparison often focuses on the desire to improve our current status or level of ability where adolescent girls who encounter and engage in upward comparison could actually lead to a positives impact on their social and emotional development as they compare themselves to someone who better off and thus, adolescent girls will look for ways to achieve similar results. – In other words, adolescent girls compare themselves to those who are better when they want inspiration to improve and thus have a positive impact on social and emotional development. I hope this clarifies your confusion.
Once again, thank you for your comment and I look forward to reading your paper.

Hi Kristina,

Thank you so much for your clarification! Now I get a better understanding of your point and I agree with that. It is interesting that comparison does not only do harm to people, but upward comparison can also be good, like when we see people of a better attitude or better lifestyle on Instagram, we compare, yet we would like to learn from them which would bring positive outcomes to ourselves.

BTW, what are your thoughts on this:
You mentioned that parents should be aware of the time adolescents spend on SNSs, so do you think that the more time that adolescents spend on SNSs, the more negative impacts than positive impacts are on their social and emotional development, and why? And how long is too long for adolescents to spend on SNSs like Instagram.
Looking forward to your response 🙂

Agnes

Hi Agnes,

You’ve raised a good point here. It really depends on how adolescents are using it. However, as mentioned in my paper that adolescent girls in today’s society spend seven to eleven hours per day with different media and it is highly likely that they may encounter negative content on SNS that may have an impact on their social and emotional development. So my answer would be yes, the more time that adolescents spend on SNSs, the more negative impacts than positive impacts are on their social and emotional development. Hence, adolescents, especially girls, should be educated by their parents to lower the risk of social networks on adolescents. There are risks for sure SNSs on adolescents, but they can be avoided – (https://www.unicef.org/stories/social-media-bad-teens-mental-health) I found this article very interesting, you may want to have a read.
 
There is no specific time-frame saying how long adolescents should spend on SNSs, however, in a surprise finding, a new report from the Pew Research Center (https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/08/22/how-teens-and-parents-navigate-screen-time-and-device-distractions/) shows that even teens are aware that they spend too much time on SNSs and are trying to cut back on their own. I hope I’ve answered your question.

Hi Kristina,

Thank you so much for answering my questions. What you said is true, the more time adolescents spend on SNSs, the more chances they may encounter negative content on SNSs. The first article you included also gave me the idea of how excessive use of SNSs can harm adolescents’ mental health, for example, it can increase feelings of inadequacy, envy, and less satisfaction with life. The second is also a good read! It is interesting that in the study 41% of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on social media and many of them think that spending too much time online is their major problem. So actually many teens are aware of the time they spend on SNSs.

Thanks for your insights 🙂

Agnes

Hi Kristina,

That was an interesting paper. I note that you balanced the argument by talking about both the negative and positive influence of Instagram on teenage girls. I agree with whatever you have said- certainly it impacts on mental health, especially at the point of adolescence, where an individual is trying to find oneself. It is easy to be influenced by others, more negatively than positively in my opinion. In wanting to be like their influencer idols on Instagram, young girls might lose their sense of personal identity at a young age.

This brings us to the last part of your essay, about the need for parents to monitor them. Again, I agree this might help but only to a certain extent. Teenagers more often see their parents as opposing to them but later in life realises that they only meant good for them. In my view, the benefits and dangers of social media should be taught at school, where peers in class can discuss and come to the realisation that they need to be careful online, of course with the guide of a teacher. It’s easier to talk to someone of the same age or to confide in strangers as compared to one’s parents.

Though not entirely similar to yours, you might check out my paper on the online community of Instagram as a tool to promote self acceptance in young girls. I would like to hear your opinions.

https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/the-online-community-of-instagram-a-tool-promoting-self-acceptance-in-young-females/

Hi Farheen,

Thank you for reading my paper. I totally agree with you that adolescents are easier to get influenced and impacted by others, more negatively than positively, especially teenage girls. Also, you’ve raised a great point here. I do agree with you that parents could help reduce/lower the risks of social networks on adolescent girls’ social and emotional development only to a certain extent as adolescence is easier to get influenced by others as you previously mentioned. And I believe it is easier for them (teenagers) to talk to someone of the same age regarding the benefits and dangers of social media as teenagers often share things with each other as compared to their parents.
Thank you for your contribution and I look forward to reading your paper.

Hello,
The pleasure is mine. I’m glad I could contribute to your paper even though we worked on different streams, yours being Social networks and mine being Identity in communities and networks. at the end of the day this is what the conference is about: sharing of opinions

Best regards,
Farheen

Hello Kristina,

I am here because of your comment on my paper! Thank you so much for showing support to my idea even when I did not bring up much disadvantages of social media at all, which is what you have included in your paper.

After reading into your paper, I understand the downs that social networking could also bring to people’s social and emotional developments. It is good to know that overspending time on the Internet could potentially turn things negatively.

Also, comparing to the other paper that I have commented on which is about the harmful effects of social media towards young teenage girls, written by Garce Joelle Brison; I do noticed that your attitude is more positive than her. For example, you have talked about “upward comparisons”, which is a special perspective when it comes to talking about online comparisons. If you are interested in her paper, you could also go and have a look.

Just in case you would want to reference back my paper, here is the link to it:
https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/10/timesup-movement-social-networks-influence-on-personal-identity-within-social-media/

Kind Regards,
Shong Wut Yi

Hi Kristina,
Your comment on my paper bring me there reading yours! Isn’t this about networking with people? Haha
I’ve really like how you explored on both negative and positive sides of your topic. But to be honest, i totally think that Instagram is having constantly more negative impacts on each teenagers, as these youngsters tend to compare themselves with some famous influences and in a way they are just trying to adjust their identities along with these ‘bad’ influence and might lead to a lose their self authenticity. Sometimes youngsters want to act and look like the influences to only show off, i guess sometimes it might be linked to their own personality. But i do agree with the point you raised about the parents actions, but campaigns or talks should also be organised to raise the important points about social networking sites and how they might be at risks with all the dangers coming along with as you said in your abstract the Web 2.0 innovation. Talks might be very helpful to educate the teenagers and discourage them to be influence by the perfect images posted online so that to avoid the risk of change in terms of their behaviours.

I don’t know if you’ve already have a look on the paper talking about social media influencers and the representation of teenagers, but i guess you might love this one. It’s kind of similar with yours, not exactly talking about girls only but about all teenagers. Maybe you can have a look, here is the link : https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/12/social-media-influencers-and-representation-of-teenagers/

Holp it helps, well done for your writing, cheers

Hi Morgane,

Thank you for reading my paper. I do agree with you that Instagram has a negative impact on Instagram and you’ve raised a good point that teenagers tend to compare themselves with others, especially influencers. But I do think that Instagram does have a positive impact on adolescence as well. As I discussed ‘upward comparison’ in my paper, where I believe that teenage girls who encounter and engage in upward comparison could actually lead to a positive impact on their social and emotional development. I definitely agree with you that campaigns and talks should be organised to help educate and reduce the risk of social networks, Instagram in particular on teenagers.
 
Once again, thank you for your comment and contribution. The paper sounds interesting, I’ll have a look at it soon! Thanks

Hi Kristina,

I just read your paper, and I find it an exciting topic. I wrote on this similar topic in another class as well. It is an interesting key point where most social media participants are highly aware of the number of views or like towards their posts. I like how you clarify the benefit of social media and argue it with a negative impact.

My key point in my previous paper discusses how the female adolescence feels pressure from how social media portray body image. The media have pressured a girl to target their body goals for slenderness. Most women who are dissatisfied with their body image are mostly the one who is categorized as overweight and obese. This woman with body dissatisfaction can lead to the risk of an eating disorder, causing them to skip meals and feeling guilty when they eat. Female gender adolescents can easily be influenced or manipulated by the media to be dissatisfied with their body image, which can lead them to engage in mental health issues.

More or less, it is an interesting argument you make relating to adolescence in this generation. I hope my perspective can help you in any way. I found that you read my paper and leave a comment already. Thank you and good luck

Christopher Benson

Hi Christopher,

Thank you for your comment and contribution. I totally agree with you that adolescent girls can be easily influenced by social media influencers that may lead to a negative impact on their mental health. However, I believe that the risk of social networks on adolescent girls can be avoided. Where parents and schools should take action and educate adolescents to reduce/lower the risk of social media as well as help enhance adolescents’ knowledge and understanding of the use of SNSs. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my paper and share your thoughts. 

Hi Kristina
I just finished reading your paper and I think your choice of topic is very interesting. I find it really nice how you have explained the relationship between Instagram likes and young girls’ feelings of acceptance and validation. Few years ago, I, myself joined Instagram and I used to measure people’s popularity or even their attractiveness in terms of their likes. I realize now how unrealistic it is to judge someone based on a few likes but viewed from the perspective of a teenage girl, it can cause severe emotional damages.

Keep up the good work and please feel free to read and comment on my paper.

Hi Vaishnavi,

Thank you for reading my paper. Yes, I do agree with you that Likes have become a ‘thing’ for adolescents, especially girls. Not sure if you’ve noticed that Instagram is hiding likes from the public view to improve the quality and safety of people’s time on their platforms. I personally think that it helps to protect not only younger users on social media but also influencers on the platform as influencers are often subjected to judgement by a huge quantity of people.

Thank you for your comment and I look forward to reading your paper.

Hi Kristina,
Very interesting analysis on how Instagram impacts the emotional development of young girls. I agree with your point that adolescent girls feel pressure to look a certain way on Instagram and are affected by the number of likes. I have personally felt pressure to represent myself in a way that meets these beauty standards on Instagram. However, last year Instagram launched an update that hides the number of likes to the public so that only the person that posted it can see it. Personally, I really liked this update as it reduced the pressure of getting likes on a photo and I feel like it ultimately helped my mental health. Do you think that this has reduced the negative impacts on the emotional development of young girls on Instagram?

Thanks,
Ash-le.

Hi Ash-Le,

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your personal thoughts and feeling about how you feel about using Instagram as well. I believe that beauty standards do impact young adults, especially females as well. As you said that you felt pressure to represent yourself in a way to meet beauty standards on Instagram – same goes to be, to be honest.
 
As for your question on whether I think Instagram hiding likes from the public view could help reduce the negative impacts on adolescent girls. My answer would be yes, as this enables users to focus on the photos and videos that are shared on the platform instead of focusing on how many likes they’ll get. Besides that, I believe this new feature on Instagram not only helps reduce the negative impacts on adolescent girls’ emotional development but it also helps to reduce teens’ mental health and social media addiction as well. I found this very interesting article (maybe you can have a look: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/instagram-hiding-likes-test-teens-mental-health-addiction-2019-7?r=US&IR=T) – it talks about the positive effect on users who experienced with the update of hidden likes on Instagram. 

Hi, Kristina! I enjoy reading your paper and totally relate to your topic. I noticed that the exposure of social media at such a young age really affect their mental state as they are still growing and seeking for their real identity. I also agree with you that parents need to keep track of their child’s social media. However, I’m pretty sure that some teenagers are now familiar with the term “finsta” and they also now can hide stories/block their parents on their Instagram. Is there are any other ways for teens not to be mentally challenged with the increasing use of social media as it has now become an integral part of their life?

My paper is also focusing on young female where fashion aesthetics influencers are affecting the process of individualisation. I would appreciate it if you have time to read it 🙂 https://networkconference.netstudies.org/2020Curtin/2020/05/11/instagram-fashion-aesthetics-construct-female-high-school-identity/
Thank you !

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for reading my paper and I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it! You’ve raised a really good point, users(teenagers) can hide certain stories from particular people – as you mentioned, it could be their parents, siblings, or strangers. Currently, Instagram also allows users to create a list of ‘Close Friends’ which it’s kind of similar to the hiding stories from certain profiles.

As for your question, I do think there are ways for teens not to be mentally challenged with the use of social media. Social media may indeed lead teenagers exposed to mature content that possibly impact on their mental health, however, I personally think that they can be avoided. One of the best ways is to educate teenagers not only how to best use the Internet, specifically social media, but parents and teachers are responsible to help teenagers to have a more realistic and productive view of what is being accessed and understand what impact it may have. This is because teenagers are not fully developed and responsible enough to handle what they’re seeing online. I hope I’ve answered your question.

Thank you for your comment and I look forward to reading your paper.

Hi Kristina,

Just finished reading your paper and I have found it really interesting and I think you have made a lot of really great points throughout. The main factor that I think makes your argument so strong throughout your essay was the fact that you have pointed out both positives and negatives considering the effect that social media can have on adolescent girls, instead of just providing one side of an argument, which in turn I believe strengthens your essay. I also want to appreciate the fact in which you highlight the way in which although the ability for girls to like and comment on others posts promotes an increase in their social development, it can also leave girls checking their own Instagram’s likes and comments therefore increasing their probability of searching for validation through these features. I thought that this was a really well said point that was crucial to demonstrating your point. However, I think something that may have added to your essay and argument is expanding on the topic of cyberbullying that occurs through these social media sites as it is a major factor in how social media plays a role in the development of adolescent girls. Except for this, I think that your argument was very well presented and I overall believe that the point you are trying to portray to the reader is clear and easy to follow, and therefore is very convincing in getting your point across.

Hi Amelia,

Thank you for reading my paper. I believe social media has both its positive and negative sides where I think it is nice to look at not just the negative side of social media have on adolescents. I agree with you that cyberbullying could help strengthen my essay/argument more as it is such a huge topic to talk about and as you said, it occurs through social media and yes, it has become an issue in the development of adolescent girls. Apparently, I found out that Instagram is the social media site where most young people report experiencing cyberbullying.

Thank you again for your comment and your kind response, I really appreciate it.

Hi Kristina,

Thanks for the reply!
Yes that makes sense, and that fact is really interesting. I did not realise that Instagram was the app that contained the most cyberbullying.
I did really enjoy your paper overall and think you have clearly demonstrated both sides of the positive and negative effects Instagram can have on adolescent girls.

Regards,
Amelia

Hi Kristina,
Your conference paper is an interesting piece of work and It was nice to read your supporting ideas. Obviously, social networking sites have contributed to make unlimited changes in the current society and I acknowledge your idea where you mentioned that the social networking sites have opened the door to a world of possibilities for adolescents. Also, the internet has improved the communication and has redefined the way individuals connect to each other. You got a good idea to focus on Instagram while showing the effects that it has on the Instagram adolescents’ girls. It is true that in the contemporary society, girls are the one who spend most of their time on the social networking sites. Also, I agree with you where you point out that “anyone who holds a smartphone can potentially connect with people online” as in this digital era, the development of the technological appliances are emerging and possessing a smartphone has increased significantly and has provide the possibility to everybody to connect to the online world. Moreover, I think that the adolescent girls feel the need to be accepted online and they shaped their identity according to the latest trend. As you mentioned, the adolescent’s girls put forward the self-representation of beauty on the social network sites and they want to meet personal and peer expectations. It is good to know that all these have notable repercussion on their personal life and that the adolescent’s girls might become a victim of the social networking.
Best regard’s,
Harmony.

Hello Kristina,

Your work was very informative about Instagram affected a female adolescent’s life in general. I got a lot on information on both the negative and positive aspects. However, my opinion differ from yours when you talk about parents’ supervision when teenagers are using SNSs. To what extent can a parent protect them when they rarely share their online information with them? And isn’t there a policy that one should be over 13yrs old to be able to join Facebook/ Instagram?
I believe that there should be more sensitisation campaign or specific classes to teach teenagers about the negative impact.

Good job for this paper!
Take care! 🙂

Hi Kristina,

Thank you for commenting on my paper! I am here from your link!

Your paper was one of the most interesting I found so far. You explored both the negative and positive sides of the platform and delved deep into them in a very interesting way. I found myself extremely engaged with the topic in your paper as, I, am an adolescent girl using the platform. Based on personal experience, I find myself being the victim of false portrayal online, raised beauty standards, and wanting to become someone who’s images may even be severely altered and what not.

Girls today need to feel included and accepted on online platforms – based on what the current beauty standards and trends are. They become the victim of the internet due to being focused on the wrong things such as the number of followers, how many likes they get, etc. And you explored all these different aspects very well.

Overall, I think this is a well put together and informative paper.

Best regards,
Stefi

Hey Kristina ,

I really enjoyed reading your paper, it was very well written. I found your paper very interesting and the scholarly sources that you used really back your paper up.
I totally agree with your viewpoints on Cyber-bulling and Instagram usage and how you explained both positive and negative aspects, really highlights you paper.

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