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German Journalist Warns from Instagram's Addictive Effect

German Journalist Warns from Instagram's Addictive Effect

Saturday, 8 February, 2020 - 07:00
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration Reuters
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

A book by Nena Schink, 27, has warned Instagram users from the addictive effect this platform could have. Instagram had reached one billion active users in 2018, with 15 million of them in Germany. Many people use this app every day to share their pictures or to see other people's posts.

The book entitled "Unfollow…How Instagram can Destroy our Lives" has been published in Germany on Friday. Schink, a business journalist who covers the influencers industry on Instagram, said: "I would like to compare my Instagram activity to my smoking habit: the first harms my soul, and the other harms my body."

In an interview with the German News Agency in Munich, the young writer said: "Facebook was established to maintain communication among friends, while LinkedIn was aimed at helping users achieve career advancements. But, on Instagram, all we do is seeking others' attention, and this is why we become naïve and manipulated. Instagram is all about social showoff."

Dr. Friederike Gerstenberg, from the German Federal Association of Psychiatrists, said: "As this platform becomes more commercial, the posts become more manipulative, which could make more pressure on the user who shares posts - or on the followers."

According to the Federal Association of Influencer Marketing (BVIM) established in 2017, the influencer industry had almost exceeded one billion active users in 2019. The association expects industry sales in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to hit 990 million euros in 2020. It is estimated that up to 165,000 people make money from Instagram, blogs, and YouTube videos.

Schink is not the only one who sees that social media could have an addictive effect. According to a study by the DAK health insurance company and the German Center for Addiction Research at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2018, 2.6 percent of children and teenagers in Germany can be described as social media addicts.

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