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On Anderson Cooper 360 Tuesday, in the aftermath of the Facebook whistleblower's recent public comments, Cooper continued the discussion with Jennifer Grygiel, an associate professor of communications at Syracuse University who studies the harmful effects of social media on teens. And she had a stark warning about Instagram.
“What we're seeing on Instagram is an imminent threat to teenagers. I am seeing self-harm,” Grygiel said. “I'm talking about starvation … teenagers cutting themselves.”
She went on to say that Instagram is a much different platform culturally compared to Facebook, one that can bring kids together “like a cult,” where they could be brought into depressive communities when they weren’t even depressed before.
That’s when Cooper admitted that Instagram doesn’t just have negative effects on teenagers.
“I'm on Instagram and I enjoy it,” Cooper said. “I follow friends and look at art sites and things like that. But I gotta say, it depresses me. I mean, I leave feeling worse than when I got on.”
Grygiel said she just wants parents to be more aware of the fact that kids are living a hybrid life, making friends in the real world but also in the digital world, where the downward spiral can happen fast. Cooper added that trying to navigate this kind of thing has to be hard on young people.
“I feel worse about my own life, I cannot imagine what a teenager feels,” Cooper said. “ I mean, I'm supposedly an adult. What some kid feels looking at other people's lives and how their lives seem much more exciting than their own.”
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