Daisy Ridley says social media contributes to teen anxiety
British actress Daisy Ridley, star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, says social media contributes to teen anxiety and to poor mental health.
After receiving abusive comments about the way she looked on a post about gun control, the 25-year-old left social media completely earlier in the year, and says she will never be going back to it.
“The more I read about teenage anxiety, the more I think it (social media) is highly unhealthy for people’s mental health. It’s such a weird thing for young people to look at distorted images of things they should be”.
In an interview with Glamour soon after she deleted her Instagram account, Ridley also explained her decision.
“I was on Instagram, trying to do that whole thing, and people weren’t very nice. I posted a thing about gun regulations, because I was at an event in tribute to the Orlando shooting at Pulse [where 49 people were killed and over 50 were wounded]. People weren’t nice about how I looked. And I was like, “I’m out.” Simple as that. That is not what I signed up for.”
She went on to say, even though people thought she left Instagram because of the reaction to her gun control post, it had nothing to do with that at all.
“Everyone said, “It’s because she talked about gun safety,” but it wasn’t. If I want to talk about gun safety, I will talk about gun safety. And I didn’t sign up for people to go, “You’re amazing!” But I didn’t sign up for them to say things like “Your skin is shit,” either…so I took down the post, and then I deleted my account.”
And you have to admit, Ridley is correct.
Many teens spend up to seven hours a day on their phones on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All sites that either contain photos that have been highly Photoshopped to make the person and their life look ‘perfect’, or are platforms that are populated by extremely abusive people.
The average teen gets sucked into the social media mess, and can soon begin to question how they look compared to the ‘perfect’ people on Instagram. Or, if abuse online is an issue, are often not equipped emotionally to protect themselves from it.
New studies also show levels of teen anxiety have risen in recent years, and some of it has been traced to the increased use of social media.
In a recent report, Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health said Instagram was the worst social media platform for young people’s self-esteem and mental health, as adolescents and teens constantly compared themselves with others on the platform.
Yes, Daisy Ridley is probably correct. Staying off social media likely makes you happier with both yourself and life in general.
Related: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens staff is hilarious on Graham Norton
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