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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Instagram Is Harmful to Teenage Self-Esteem

September 21, 2021

A disturbing story in the Wall Street Journal last week offered hard evidence that Instagram is toxic to teenage girls’ self-esteem. The news itself isn’t a surprise — just ask any parent what they think of Instagram — but what’s shocking is that the data came from Facebook, which owns Instagram.

The research, which had been intended for internal eyes only, showed that Instagram made girls feel insecure about the way they look. As the company frankly noted: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” And the teens surveyed blamed Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.

This week on childmind.org we round up resources on helping kids avoid the negative impacts of social media, especially all those selfies on Instagram that make teenagers, already self-conscious, feel insecure about their looks and their lives. How can teenagers, who aren’t likely to unplug, enjoy the benefits of social media and limit the harm?

Helpful Resources

What Selfies Are Doing to Self-Esteem

How they can exacerbate insecurity, anxiety and depression.


Social Media and Self-Doubt

How parents can help kids resist the pressure created by artfully curated social media feeds.


Managing Social Media Stress With Mindfulness

The technique that lets you stay connected while boosting self-awareness.


13 Ways to Boost Your Daugh-ter's Self-Esteem

How to help girls build confidence based on what they can do, not what they look like.


What Is Social Anxiety?

When fear of how you appear gets in the way of functioning.


Tips for Communicating With Your Teen

Keeping the parent-child relationship strong during a tricky age.