Focusing the Attention on What Truly Matters. Preventive Approaches for Problematic Instagram use in Youth

Silvana Melissa Romero Saletti, Stephan Van den Broucke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: This paper addresses the extensive use of Instagram by youth and explores the potential negative consequences of such use, with a view to provide recommendations for prevention purposes. Recent findings: Based on an attention economy model, Instagram strategically incorporates design elements rooted in behavioral psychology to maximize user engagement, fostering habit loops and self-presentation. The paper outlines and discusses Instagram’s unique features for aesthetic manipulation of content, provides an overview of reported negative consequences of Instagram use, and identifies factors influencing vulnerability to problematic use, such as social comparison orientation and fear of missing out. Based on these analyses, recommendations for prevention are formulated. Summary: To develop prevention strategies for problematic Instagram use and implement tailored interventions for individuals at high risk, it is crucial to emphasize identity development, critical thinking, and emotion regulation. Promoting ethical social network design and responsible Instagram use are critical. Users should be made aware of these risks and processes, automatic usage patterns need to be addressed, and self-regulation and life skills enhanced. More applied research on these topics is required and encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Fear of missing out
  • Instagram use
  • Motives
  • Patterns of use
  • Prevention
  • Social comparison orientation


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