There was a time when Facebook was for old people, Instagram and TikTok were for young people, and Twitter was for, well, boring people.
But more and more young people are deciding that all of social media is a huge time suck, pointless — perhaps even detrimental — and bailing altogether.
“Zoomers are known for being glued to their phones, but some twenty-somethings are taking a stand against all-consuming apps such as TikTok and Instagram,” the New York Post reported. “Calling them ‘toxic’ and ‘obsessive,’ these young people say they’re regaining control of their time by stepping away from the scroll.”
The Post piece cites a recent survey of 10,000 teens commissioned by investment bank Piper Sandler that found “only 22% of respondents between the ages of 7 and 22 named Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform as their favorite app, down from 31% in spring 2020.”
“When you delete it you realize you don’t need it,” Gabriella Steinerman, 20, told the Post. “The economics major dumped both Instagram and TikTok back in 2019, and said the relief she felt after unplugging was almost immediate.”
In an even more extensive study of more than 84,000 young people released last month, researchers found that use of social media is linked to poor mental health for adolescents and teenagers, especially around puberty.
The study found young people who spend a lot of time on social media can have poor body image and low self-esteem.
“Narrowing in on adolescents, the team found that for people in the 16- to 21-year-old age range, both very low and very high social media use were both linked with lower life satisfaction,” The Verge reported, citing the study. “In 10- to 15-year-olds, there wasn’t much difference in life satisfaction between kids reporting low and high social media use. But in that group, girls with high social media use had lower life satisfaction than boys.”
In another study, this one in March 2020, researchers found that 32% of young, female Instagram subscribers were harmed by the platform, according to the Wall Street Journal. “They found it exacerbates negative body image, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts,” the Post reported at the time.
And a December survey from Tallo found that 56% of members of Generation Z said “social media has led them to feel left out by their peers.”
According to the Tallo poll, 75% of young women using social media platforms were prompted “to compare themselves to peers.”
“82% of Gen Zers said that social media had proven to be a distraction to them while doing schoolwork,” Tallo wrote. “It was also revealed that 3 in 4 female respondents said that social media has caused them to compare themselves to peers, while only 56% of males said the same and more than half of all respondents (56%) indicated that social media has led them to feel left out by their peers.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.