New research from insights agency Opinium shows that two in five Americans are cutting back on the time they spend on Instagram in order to improve their mental health.
The data was collected from a survey of 2,000 US adults (ages 18+) from November 11-12, 2021.
The study found that 38% of users are reducing the amount of time they spend on the app, and have made other, significant choices users to foster better mental health.
Eighteen percent of users have deleted the Instagram app from their phones, while 21% have set screen-time limits and 17% have changed their in-app settings so they are unable to see the exact number of "likes" on their personal posts.
When it comes to Instagram’s use of influencer marketing, 30% of those surveyed agreed that it was “annoying” but still found themselves paying attention to it, while 26% said they found influencer content fun and/or interesting, yet dislike influencer culture. Twenty-one percent agreed, but found themselves buying products that influencers recommend, and 50% thought influencer marketing is here to stay.
When respondents were asked who was responsible for managing the mental health of users on social media platforms such as Instagram, 17% pointed directly to the social media companies. This number was higher among younger age groups, with 18- to-24-year-olds at 28%. However, 40% of respondents feel the responsibility is mostly with the individual user.
Still, 79% of respondents agreed that social media companies should do something to address the negative mental-health effects their products have on users.
Fifty-five percent of respondents called for social media companies to do more to remove offensive and toxic content, while 34% believe they should do more to remove content that specifically promotes an unrealistic body image. Twenty-seven percent wanted to see Instagram change its algorithm to show more content promoting positive mental health, and 15% thought the app should impose time limits on users.
“It’s long been documented that social media use can have a negative impact on our mental well being,” said Giulia Prati, vice president of research U.S. at Opinium. “Surely, based on this research, as well as the recent rise in the sharing of fake news on social channels during the Covid pandemic, there is more to be done by these social media giants to protect their users.”