Instagram tops cyber-bully charts for Gen Zs
INSTAGRAM has been named the worst social media platform for cyber-bullying, according to a youth survey.
A study led by Year 13's YouthSense, which surveyed 1200 young people aged 15-24 nationwide, found 44 per cent felt addicted to social media and 20 per cent had been bullied on Instagram.
Nationally, Australians are spending between two to three hours on social media per day and concerns have been raised by experts that we may be approaching an epidemic.
"Instagram is a platform that is easy for bullies to get on to and cause havoc, there's greater anonymity so young people can say harmful things and it's easier for them to interact," social analyst Mark McCrindle said.
"They say things online that they never would in the real world or face-to-face and, until we can encourage young people to see the reality of it, then we will continue to see the immaturity of youth play out in a social media space.
"They are revealing much of their life and they are posting more and more and so they end up revealing more and more … when content is visual there's no end to what people can post and what they can consume.
"Bullying is at its worst when people are at a more vulnerable age and that's the case with Instagram. It's got a younger age of user than some of the other sites and therefore you have a greater prevalence of bullying."
In the survey, Instagram was also listed as the favourite social media app with 95 per cent of Gen Zs saying they use it regularly, compared to YouTube (79 per cent), Facebook (74 per cent), Snapchat (74 per cent) and Twitter (14 per cent).
A further 63 per cent of respondents also admitted they would limit their social media use in order to improve their mental health.
Year 13 CEO William Stubley said young people should be wary about excessive social media use, especially during already stressful periods, such as during the HSC.
"Social media is almost an inescapable part of Gen Z's lives today but, as we see, many young people are starting to take a step back from it if it's becoming too much for their mental health," he said.
"By the same token they also expressed how it helps them feel connected and informed. "However, many Gen Zs still described it as making them feel stressed, jealous, anxious and lonely.
"For Year 12s especially now during their HSC it's important that social media is used in a way which doesn't add to their stress at a time when it's already high."