Consumer Alert: Report says Facebook knows Instagram is toxic for teen girls

[anvplayer video=”5056818″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — An explosive report in The Wall Street Journal has Facebook playing defense. Now members of Congress have vowed to investigate. This consumer alert is a real wake-up call for parents.

Facebook owns Instagram, and if you’re the parent of a teenager, chances are your kiddo has an Instagram account. And according to an investigative report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Instagram is toxic to your teenage daughter. Facebook knows it and has the research to prove it.

Whistleblowers who gave the internal research to The Journal say Facebook has worked hard to hide that information from you. Instagram is all about the pictures, blasting girls with images of idealized, often highly edited, bodies. And according to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s own research revealed, "We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls."

Here are just some of the findings from the Journal’s investigation:

  • Teens told researchers they felt addicted to Instagram.
  • More than 40% of teens who felt unattractive linked their feelings to Instagram.
  • Teens said Instagram worsened their anxiety and depression
  • And of those who said they had suicidal thoughts, 6% of American teens said their feelings could be traced back to the app.

So now two U.S. senators, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have vowed to launch an investigation into the social media giant.

So what can we do as parents? Here’s Deanna’s Do List:

  • Follow your kid on Instagram.
  • Tell her to hide her likes. Facebook research shows that the number of likes your daughter gets on a posted picture is a source of serious anxiety.
  • Take control. You can do that with parental controls. You also need to fully understand the ins and outs of Instagram. I found Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Instagram really helpful.