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Student Research Guide WQ23/ Harmful Effects of Instagram on Teenage Girls

What is this Guide for?

Harmful Effects of Instagram on Teenage Girls 

This is a student created research guide for English 102 & Library 201 Learning Community


This guide will address issues around the danger Instagram poses to today's teenage girls, explore harmful effects of Instagram, and present information and resources on issues related to Instagram. Instagram has many impacts on teenage girls, and by identifying these, it can be better understood that Instagram has an overall negative effect on teenage girls. 


The research thesis of this guide is: Instagram is a dangerous platform that creates significant, life-altering problems in the minds of teenage girls. 


The research questions addressed in this guide are:

1. What are the harmful effects of Instagram on teenage girls?

2. How has engagement with Instagram impacted teenage girls?

3. What makes Instagram dangerous?



Much of today’s society is wrapped up in a social media app called Instagram. This app has many effects on its users, particularly teenage girls, and most of these effects are negative. To fully understand these effects, this research guide endeavored to answer the question of what negative effects Instagram has on teenage girls. In order to write this guide, many internet sources, SVC database literature, and Google Scholar sources were collected and annotated to compile the most helpful and relevant information. The results of this guide show that the effect of Instagram on teenage girls is overwhelmingly negative, finding such harms as anxiety, depression, body image dissatisfaction, and suicidal ideation to be prevalent. Implications show that Instagram could do a better job of protecting teenage girls from these issues and that teenage girls need to be better educated in this area. Further research could be done on comparison of teenage girls living with Instagram with teenage girls living without Instagram.

Background Information

     INSTAGRAM is a photo-based social media app that focuses primarily on the visual lives of its users. By sharing photos linked with 'hashtags', users can view other peoples' content as well as compare them to their own. 


      The app was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, both Stanford graduates. Systrom was the main creator of the Instagram app, which started out as a photo-sharing app called Burbn based on both the uniqueness of a purely photo-based app and Systrom's passion for photography (Blystone). The Instagram app was launched on October 6, 2010, and acquired about 25,000 users its first day live (Blystone). The company was purchased by Facebook (now Meta) in 2012 for roughly $1 billion (Blystone).


      In the rising days of social media, the basis of the platform stemmed from an idea that the world needed a photo-based social media platform, to share pictures. Instagram attracted millions of users and continues to grow (Blystone). Today, this platform has been updated with a myriad of new features that make it even more appealing to the masses, and keep users coming back to the app again and again.



Instagram logo projected onto a human hand, on top of a black background

Instagram logo projected onto a human hand, on top of a black background

TheDigitalArtist. Instagram, social media, communication. Download, displayed on Accessed 22 Feb. 2023. Original website {}.



The video below discusses the impacts of beauty filters of Instagram on women's mental health and perception of their own appearance. It addresses concerning trends beginning to rise in society due to filters on photo-sharing apps.

"From Instagram To TikTok: The UGLY truth about beauty filters and the rise of Snapchat Dysmorphia." Lovelyti TVNov. 2022, YouTube

All Content CC-BY.