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Instagram fuels both body-image issues and social connections, teen girls say | CBC News

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CBC News spoke with teenage girls who acknowledged Instagram can exacerbate body-image issues but can also play an important role in connecting with others and sharing information on significant world events.

Teen girls say Instagram lets them connect with peers and share experiences, but reportedly, according to research, about one-third of them also said that, when they felt bad about their bodies, the photo-focused app made them feel worse. (Sergey Causelove/Shutterstock)

For 17-year-old Toronto student Scarlett Pourmartin, Instagram has been a bit of a mixed bag. It has provided the opportunity to be part of a larger social network, exchange information and share experiences with her peers.

But it’s had some drawbacks, significantly when it comes to self image and comparing herself to others — models like Kylie Jenner, who post their glam shots to be seen by millions of followers.

“I feel unworthy. I just don’t feel great. I don’t feel pretty. I don’t feel right. I don’t feel like I’m up to the beauty standard that women kind of have to uphold,” she said.

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“Sometimes I feel depressed about it. I definitely went through a phase where I was unhappy with my body because I was on social media so much.”

Facebook conducted studies

Pourmartin is among many teenagers who struggle with body image when comparing themselves to others on Instagram. Indeed, Facebook, which owns Instagram, has discovered this through its own research, according to the Wall Street Journal. Company documents, obtained by the Journal, reveal that for the past three years, Facebook conducted studies into how Instagram affects its millions of young users.

It found Instagram can be harmful for a significant number of users, in particular teenage girls. According to the research about one-third of teen girls said that, when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. Research also showed that the peer pressure generated by the image-focused Instagram led in some cases to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

Scarlett Pourmartin is among many teenagers who struggle with body image when comparing themselves to others on Instagram (Courtesy Scarlett Pourmartin)

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Pourmartin says it’s not just comparing body images — pictures of others engaging in fun social activity can also affect her mood.

“It just makes me compare my life to others and just think that their life is way better than mine, or way more perfect,” she said. “It definitely makes me not feel good, sometimes even depressed about it.”

Even for someone like Hannah Alper, 18, a Canadian social activist with nearly 13,000 followers, Instagram can exacerbate her insecurities.

‘Impossible to not compare yourself’

“I’ve had insecure body issues since I was really young. I’m really short. So that has kind of played into the mix of that and looking at other girls and it’s kind of impossible to not compare yourself to other people,” she said. 

“Then that translates into us not feeling good about our bodies, about how we look.”

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Alper acknowledges that pictures posted on Instagram are of people presenting themselves in their best light.

“A lot of people on Instagram, including myself, we only post the highlights that’s going on in or lives. When people see all of these people’s lives with the perfect body, the perfect life, the perfect everything — you can’t almost not feel a sense of jealousy, sadness.”

Still she says, for the most part, Instagram has been a big positive in her life; that she’s been using it since the start of her activism to talk about issues she’s passionate about, to connect with people across the world and learn from them. 

But she also believes it’s important, once in a while, to step back from Instagram.

“Sometimes it’s important to take a break, take a breather, come back to the real world, go for a walk, don’t be on your phone for a little bit,” she said.

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A few weeks ago, 15-year-old Toronto student Megan Fedorchuk took a permanent breather and gave up her Instagram account.

“I just kind of realized I was talking about and communicating and obsessing and comparing over something that quite literally doesn’t exist,” she said.

Kylie Jenner arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2018, in New York. Models like Jenner post their glam shots on Instagram to be seen by millions of followers. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

“Even the people who seem to be demonstrating some form of authentic, realistic representation, who seem to have it all together, it’s all a facade, like it’s all a fine-tuned image.”

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She said she feels “markedly better” since quitting the app, that she’s seen a “drastic difference” in her attention span and is being more mindful about the media she consumes.

Katherine Tucker, a 17-year-old student from Dundas, Ont., says she realizes she spends way too much time on Instagram.

“I’m on it at school, at class, at home, at night, in the morning. I’m on it all the time,” she said. “It’s totally an addiction.”

She said her friends often talk about wishing they lived in a pre-Instagram era, yet still, none will give it up. 

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Megan Fedorchuk says she feels ‘markedly better’ since quitting the app, that she’s seen a ‘drastic difference’ in her attention span and is being more mindful about the media she consumes. ( Helen Tansey)

“You don’t want to be the first one to give it up. You want to be doing what everyone else is doing.”

There are benefits of Instagram, she said. While it provides a social media circle, it also plays an important role in information consumption, learning about different events and social movements around the world, she said.

‘Body image is a huge thing’

But then, on the flip side, I would definitely say it does have a negative impact on not just me, but my friends. Body image is a huge thing already with teens,” she said.

Tucker says even though she’s aware that some images may be manipulated, it still can impact her self-image.

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“I know what’s going on, I know, well, she’s posing, it’s the angle, she’s sucking in, it’s Photoshop. I know in my mind,” she said.

“It still affects you. Next time you look in the mirror, you’re thinking of that picture.”

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
See also  Instagram Celeb Hit With Copyright Suit Over Sample Photos

If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

See also  What your kids wish you knew about Instagram - Los Angeles Times

Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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