If you go to a party and don’t post about it on your Snapchat story, did you even go? Snapchat, the disappearing image app created in September 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, is taking over and affecting the mental health of teens, adults, and even little kids who have access to the app. Snapchat has a soaring population of 66 million users and is one of social media’s most popular and widely used applications. It is indeed a rather fun and addictive app, but it does have a lot of negative attributions. According to CBS News, Snapchat ranked “second worst for mental health” in a social media study. At first sight, Snapchat seems harmless and fun, but in reality, it is more addictive than drugs and alcohol. Don’t let Snapchat become your story.
One of the many ways this app has such a negative affect is that people are more likely to feel left out and excluded. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is more likely to occur when the things everyone is doing are visible right at your fingertips. The “My Story” feature allows users to post something for their Snap friends to see. After 24 hours, it disappears into the endless Snapchatting void. When people view these stories, they feel left out, causing them to feel lonely and depressed. They may wonder why they weren’t invited, and start feeling that they aren’t good enough; they feel friendless when they see all of their friends hanging out without them. Harborfields High School senior and Snapchat user Toniann Rizzuto stated that “Snapchat is really fun, but I can see what everyone is doing and I feel left out of the fun. I start thinking bad things about myself.” People post just about everything on their Snapchat stories, from the waffle they had for breakfast to their dog, from their friends and family to the amazing concert or raging party they’re currently at. It makes people feel more vulnerable to have their lives compared to others, and they begin to have depressing thoughts or feelings about their own lives and themselves.
The picture-based app is full of selfies that anybody can view, whether they’re posted on their story or in a private Snapchat. Another way that this is affecting the mental health of many people is that it can really lower one’s confidence. One of the most popular features of Snapchat is the wide variety of filters to make you come off as “perfect” and “flawless.” The filters range from the basic dog ears to the filters that can make you look like a supermodel, even on your worst days. People see these highly filtered pictures and feel that they aren’t good enough. This has lead to society creating an image of perfection that people are trying to create, and causing others to have low self-esteem. “Not only on Snapchat, but on other social media as well, you can tell people use tons of filters and editing to make themselves look like what society wants them to look like. People see this and start to feel bad about themselves,” says senior Jillian McGuire.
Lastly, while Snapchat can be affecting you mentally, it is also quite dangerous in other ways; users should be wary of who they add and what settings they have on. Snapchat has recently added “Snap Maps” to the app. Snap Maps enable users to see their friends’ locations and track exactly where they are. You can turn on Snapchat’s ghost mode, which is recommended to keep yourself safe, but if there are people you trust that you would like to know your location, you can turn it on for only them to see.
So be smart, stay safe, and don’t let Snapchat be your story.