It's official: beating a strong field, Instagram has been named the worst social media network for mental health. According to Britain's Royal Society for Mental Health, instead of being #inspired, young people are hurt by Instagram's endless parade of thigh gaps and Malibu sunsets. That's understandable - if you want a young person in the UK to feel like they're missing out, show them photos of swimsuit weather. Most of us know we can't compete on Instagram; we don't count as young people anyway, and our photo rolls are full of cats and Dave and Sandra's 25th anniversary party (theme: cats).
So what do social media providers offer our own mental health?
Let's look at Facebook first, because you either just have or were about to. They said it would go the way of the dinosaurs and MySpace, but Facebook prevails, propped up by political spite and amusing animal gifs. On the upside, it keeps you in touch with family and old friends from school. On the downside, it keeps you in touch with family and old friends from school. It might help you be social in real life via event invitations, but it also catapults you into comment-thread arguments with terrible people, and you'll never be quite sure whether you're one of them. Some of your friends may use Facebook Live and it's okay to unfriend those people.
Perfect if you're trying to network the kind of people who are also trying to network you, but LinkedIn could taunt you into paranoia. "Hi, it's LinkedIn! Someone viewed your page but I'm not going to tell you who!" Are you being stalked or headhunted? Who knows? Isn't this fun?
Snapchat is a good time. To see ourselves as adorable panting puppies is pretty much the reason humans bothered to evolve. For your sanity, don't trust the self-destructing photos - unfortunately what happens on the internet stays on the internet. Then again, if your nude selfie has an adorable puppy face, maybe more people should see that awesomeness. 10/10, would ruin life again.
Twitter is the social media for those who like the written word, which goes to show you can like something without being very good at it. Rage-tweets, meltdowns and pile-ons are a threat to your mental well-being, unless you're the type to rise to the top of the body pile, ruthlessly dispensing cold witticisms and pitying cry-laugh emojis. It's Lord of the Flies in 140 characters - which, come to think of it, would have improved the book no end.
The worst, because Insta is totally artificial. That casual poolside selfie requires two hours trying on togs, a ladder, three friends using phone torches from opposing angles, half an hour faffing the filters and brainstorming hashtags and an "Instagram Husband" to spend 40 minutes taking the photo slightly wrong and getting yelled at. Comparison is the thief of joy, not to mention the shoplifter of positivity and the aggravated assaulter of mental health. It's safer to stick to Pinterest where there's just as many pretty pictures, but more of them are of cats.