According to ExpressVPN’s study, the impact of social media on Gen Z’s mental health may be more severe than anticipated. Here are some interesting findings from the survey with respondents from the US, France, and Germany.
1. Social media has a deteriorating effect on mental health
Social media aims to encourage communication and build meaningful relationships. Ironically, 81% of respondents say social media makes them feel lonely, while 83% reported feeling more anxious. What’s more alarming, 86% of them create their self-image based on the number of followers, likes, and views.
2. Hiding likes on social media makes them feel more comfortable
Social media companies are aware of the enormous impact the number of likes can bring. Recently, Facebook and Instagram took the step in introducing the function of hiding like count. The study shows that 33% of Gen Z respondents use the “Hide Likes” feature. Furthermore, 70% of them say it made posting more enjoyable and authentic, while 62% reported decreased anxiety.
3. Gen Z don’t trust social media companies
Gen Z’s trust in social media networks is declining. 28% do not believe that social media companies protect their personal information, and 76% are concerned about using their images for facial recognition.
Most teenagers nowadays use at least one security feature on their accounts to protect themselves, with the most commonly used ones being two-factor authentication and blocking accounts.
4. Gen Z has unique methods for staying anonymous online
Alongside adjusting security and privacy settings on their accounts, Gen Z likes to take further steps to protect their privacy online. One of the most common ways to stay anonymous is creating multiple Instagram accounts or “finstas.” In fact, 40% of Gen Z respondents say they have multiple accounts, while 53% admitted having three or more accounts. The most common motive for using fake accounts is the ability to post more personal content, but spying on others, and avoiding employer monitoring are high on the list as well.
5. Social media fame is worth the privacy and security risk
Younger generations are often attracted by the extravagant livestyle social media influencers post on their profiles. In fact, 78% of Gen Z say they would willingly give away their personally identifiable information in exchange for social media fame. Some of them would even share their home address and social security number on social media networks. 33% admit that what they share on their profiles includes information that could easily answer a security question for their password.
If you want to stay safe and protect your privacy, you need to learn how each platform operates and which personal information you’re unknowingly giving away. Also, it’s crucial to find the right balance between the online and offline world and focus on nurturing healthy relationships.