The most hated program in America? 1 million delete this every month

NEW YORK (AP) With 170 million Americans using the app, the United States has one of the largest concentrations of Instagram users worldwide. But statistics show that the image-based social media app is also among the countries with the least interest.

A 2021 study by the Pew Research Center found that four out of ten Americans use Instagram. In Backlinko’s global ranking of the countries with the most monthly Instagram users, the United States came in second. Among American users, 71 percent are between 18 and 29 years old.

Despite Instagram’s huge domestic market, VPNoverview research shows that the social media platform is losing popularity among American audiences. A 2023 study found that more than one million monthly Google searches in the United States contained keywords related to deleting or deactivating Instagram.

The rise of Instagram

Instagram was officially launched in October 2010 and has accumulated more than two billion users worldwide. The platform allows users to share photos and videos while connecting with other accounts via likes, follows, and direct messages.

In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram in a successful $1 billion deal. Business of Apps reports that the platform will generate more than $51 billion in 2022, accounting for more than 40% of Facebook’s total revenue. According to the Pew Research Center, of the more than 170 million US users who access Instagram monthly, the majority are between the ages of 13 and 29. In a 2022 survey of 13- to 17-year-olds in the United States, the center found that 62 percent of respondents had used Instagram.

Increasing dissatisfaction with Instagram

As the number of Instagram users around the world has increased, criticism of the app has also increased. Statista’s 2023 survey of US users’ satisfaction with various online platforms found Instagram ranked second among eleven companies.

Concerns about the increased use of Instagram and other photo and video sharing apps have grown in recent years. This frustration is largely due to a growing body of research showing that social media platforms have potentially harmful effects on mental health. Young people aged 13-17, 8% of Instagram users worldwide, are particularly vulnerable to these negative consequences.

Other common problems with Instagram range from the prevalence of bot accounts to the spread of false information, as well as concerns about the security of personal information. Many users are also unhappy that Instagram has started promoting more ads and sponsored content.

Instagram is no longer fun. I used to be able to connect with a community and share the things I love. Megan Elliott, luxury travel blogger at Lush to Blush and a member of the diverse travel blogger group Babes That Wander, says: “It’s hard to reach anyone on Instagram, so it seems like a no-brainer.” All are spam and ads that make you waste money. I clicked on an ad for Polene bags once, and now I’m obsessed with them.

Research on the harmful effects of social media in general on mental health has also emerged in recent years.

A 2019 study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture examined the relationship between Instagram use and various psychological behaviors. One hundred and twenty-nine women aged 18 to 35 participated in the study, which found a direct link between time spent on Instagram and feelings of depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions. According to The Social Shepherd, approximately 57% of US Instagram users are women.

The effects of frequent use of Instagram by young people under the age of 18 are also worrying. A 2023 Consultation on Social Media and Youth Mental Health by the US Surgeon General found that 95% of American youth between the ages of 13 and 17 report using some form of social media. Frequent use of Instagram and other social media platforms can significantly affect critical cognitive development during adolescence.

But experts say you can enjoy the program responsibly and minimize adverse effects. New research even suggests that using social media platforms can be beneficial for mental health.

How to have a healthy relationship with Instagram?

The 2023 US Surgeon General’s Consultation found that most young people surveyed feel social media gives them a sense of belonging and a space for creativity.

Similarly, a 2019 survey of over 1,000 participants found a positive correlation between social media use and feeling connected to others. Deliberate interaction with Instagram and other apps allows users to take advantage of the positive aspects of social media while minimizing the negative effects.

Daily usage limit

Experts believe that one of the best ways to build a healthy relationship with social media is to reduce overall scrolling time. A 2022 University of Manchester paper suggests browsing social media for 30 minutes or less a day to improve mental health.

In a 2023 study, researchers at Iowa State University found that students who reduced their social media use to 30 minutes a day reported lower levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness.

Be intentional when interacting with accounts

Another important factor in having a positive relationship with Instagram and other apps is being intentional during interactions. The American Psychological Association says that social comparison on Instagram leads to negative outcomes such as body image insecurity and eating disorders. To combat these negatives, the National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends unfollowing accounts that negatively affect self-esteem and confidence.

Certain demographics, such as new mothers, are significantly influenced by unrealistic ideals promoted by lifestyle accounts and recommendations. Kelsey Waddell, author of the parenting blog Stroller Envy, started using Instagram for parenting tips and tricks.

After scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling through my feed, I’ve never felt more confident in my parenting abilities, she says. Just more depressed and sure that I never get things right.

When Kelsey realized that social media was negatively affecting her confidence in her parenting abilities, she took action. I started by limiting app usage in my phone settings to 10 minutes a day and was shocked at how quickly my time ran out, he explains. My next step was to completely remove it from my phone.

Balance usage with offline activities

Another concern with overuse of Instagram and social media is the replacement of in-person socializing with digital interactions. While global engagement on social media can be helpful, it should not completely replace real-world communication. HelpGuide encourages Instagram users to set aside regular times to meet friends or participate in activities.

Being offline and prioritizing face-to-face socialization also helps users to be more engaged and present in the moment. A study by Lee Health explains that using social media causes the brain to release dopamine, the feel-good chemical, which sometimes leads to addiction.

As a travel blogger whose business relies on social media, sometimes Instagram takes me out of the moment and I’m always thinking about getting content or what to post, says Elise Armitage, founder of travel and lifestyle blog What the Fab. I do. If I’m packing for an exciting trip, I wonder if I should post an Instagram story about it to tease my future travels?

I have many examples of this, Armitage continues. When I was at my sisters bachelorette party, I found myself spending a lot of time Googling bachelorette party Instagram captions so I could find the perfect line for my Instagram post. I had to consciously put my phone away to be present.

Can Instagram Bring Back the Americans?

As the number of Instagram accounts in the US and around the world continues to grow, the rate of dissatisfaction among users is likely to increase as well. Instagram leaders can address some of these concerns to meet the needs of vulnerable users.

However, some responsibility rests with Instagram users to interact with the platform with focus and intention. Reducing daily usage, unfollowing harmful accounts, and making time for offline activities are critical steps to building a more positive relationship with social media apps.

This article is powered by Media Decision and powered by Wealth of Geeks.

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