According to a new study, Instagram use isn't just a way to showcase our perfectly curated lives. It's also a way for teens to connect with their friends.
Move over, Facebook; there's a new kid on the academic study block. There have been a lot of studies about Facebook and its effects on users, but Instagram is taking center stage this time. Previous studies have suggested that social media use can make users feel disconnected instead of connected. Instagram, apparently, has the opposite effect.
It's worth noting, of course, that as long as Instagram use is moderate, its effects will remain positive. However, once you use the social media site more frequently, it can lead to depression.
Instagram seemed frivolous, shallow, and a way for people to make their lives seem more interesting than they actually are. The site still seems like that, of course, but it may be more than a venue for subtle bragging. A researcher has found that Instagram can make teenage friendships solid.
Eline Frison from the University of Leuven presented her findings at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. She created a longitudinal study that took place from 2013 to 2014. In this study, Frison wanted to determine the effects of using Instagram in teens.
Frison asked adolescent students to participate in a survey about their use of various social media sites. The survey included Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. The students also answered questions on things like feelings of depression, loneliness, and life satisfaction.
According to the data, frequent Instagram use can lead to symptoms of depression after six months. Using Instagram moderately, however, helped teens become closer to their friends and thus decrease loneliness.
The reason for this may be because Instagram use simulates the friendship teens have with each other. This makes using Instagram beneficial in the long-term. Teenagers can feel closer to their friends even when they're apart through Instagram. Frison cautions, however, that once Instagram fails to simulate friendships, it can become detrimental.
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