Our Youth, Media & Wellbeing Research Lab, surveyed 700 students aged 11 to 16 on their social media use, their mental health, and how they were influenced by peers. Survey results showed that 54 percent of students who reported social media-related body dissatisfaction said celebrity photos triggered those feelings. To better understand how celebrity Instagram posts might influence youth, researchers did an in-depth analysis of the Instagram accounts used by 18 students from the initial 700-student sample. This infographic highlights findings from the analysis of students' Instagram habits.
The researchers analyzed who the 18 students followed on Instagram, noting the numbers of celebrities and non-celebrities followed. The analysis revealed that the students followed up to 2,150 Instagram accounts. Of those, students followed up to 154 celebrity accounts. When looking at the data by gender, researchers noted that boys followed, on average, 160 more Instagram accounts than girls. However, girls, on average, followed 5 times more celebrities than boys.
The study was funded by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, with additional support provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Mary Ann Tynan Faculty Fellowship to Dr. Liu, as well as the Class of 1967 Internship Program at the Wellesley Centers for Women.