IF your children or grandchildren are forever glued to their phones obsessing over beautiful people, or pleading for products endorsed by the latest celebrity, there’s a good chance they’re hooked on Instagram.
Photo-sharing site Instagram has been labelled as one of the most damaging social media platforms for teenagers online.
A recent survey by the Young Health Movement highlighted its potential to trigger body image worries, depression and anxiety among young users.
But with 90% of teens active on social media, what influence do celebrities have on their millions of impressionable followers?
The #StatusofMind report’s author, Matt Keracher, told The Sunday Post: “The problem is a lot of young girls take Instagram images at face value and may not be old enough to think about how the pictures might have been digitally manipulated or staged.”
As concern grows over what kids consume online, psychologist Marc Hekster gives his expert analysis of the top 10 celebrities whose words and pictures mean so much to millions.
Name: Selena Gomez
Famous for: American singer/actress who has gone from Disney starlet to a global superstar. She has dominated the pop charts and had cameo roles in Hollywood blockbusters. This official Queen of Instagram is also the ex-girlfriend of Justin Bieber. Her Instagram images show high fashion and glossy shots of Selena living the perfect jet set life.
Quote: “Everybody wants what they don’t have. But at the end of the day, what you have inside is much more beautiful than what’s on the outside!”
Most likely to be pictured: Wearing designer gear as she struts down Hollywood Boulevard.
Expert verdict: “I think she’s the most positive and comes across as a very ambitious and determined woman.”
Name: Miley Cyrus
Famous for: This ex-Disney star, known for her role in the teen hit Hannah Montana, was actually voted worst celebrity role model by 78% of UK parents. The often-provocative singer shocked the world with her controversial gyrating dance moves (known as ‘twerking’) on stage and screen. Her open drug-taking in the past has been well-documented.
Quote: “I’m pretty cool. I’m pretty much the coolest person ever.”
Most likely to be pictured: In a leather crop top and hot pants sticking out her tongue and flipping two fingers.
Expert verdict: “Parental guidance definitely helps with Miley Cyrus. I think the impression she gives is to be sexy is what’s important. That image needs to be engaged with caution.”
Name: Ariana Grande
Famous for: This former Disney Club star has blossomed into true pop royalty. The chart-topper has a global fanbase but is well-known in the UK for her admirable reaction to the tragic suicide bombing at her Manchester concert. She rallied her celeb pals and legions of fans to support victims and their families, while her Instagram messages of love, acceptance and solidarity touched millions.
Quote: “Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks.”
Most likely to be pictured: In hot pants and a bikini top on stage.
Expert verdict: “She’s very girly but we saw a different side to her after the Manchester bombing. She really reaches out to her fans and helps them understand something about authenticity.”
Name: The Kardashians
Famous for: This plastic surgery-loving family are famous for being … rich and famous, and their US reality TV series, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. They’ve become known on Instagram for flaunting their airbrushed bodies, and posting scantily clad, sexualised photos of themselves.
Followers: Kim Kardashian West 102M, Kylie Jenner 96.2M, Kendal Jenner 82.4M, Khloe Kardashian 68.5M, Kourtney Kardashian 58.3M
Quote: Kendal – “Getchu some friends that smack your booty.”
Most likely to be pictured: Snapping a selfie in an itsy-bitsy, barely-there bikini while lounging on a yacht.
Expert verdict: “A classic example of superficiality and taking without giving back. They give this message that it’s all about what you look like, and it’s not OK to just look as you are or be the way you are.”
Name: Cara Delevingne
Famous for: Top British model Cara started in the fashion industry aged 10 and shot to international fame after being scouted by top British label Burberry. She’s recently gone from dominating the catwalks to Hollywood. She posts images from photo shoots and red carpets, but isn’t afraid to get political or goofy.
Quote: “This modelling thing, it’s pretty easy, but actually it’s also really tough.”
Most likely to be pictured: Fooling around on the red carpet or staring down the paparazzi with a look that could kill.
Expert verdict: “I think she has a sense of authority and there’s something more substantial about what she puts out there. She’s someone young people relate to without the more damaging influence of the Kardashians.”
Name: Maisie Williams
Famous for: The young British actress rose to fame through her role as plucky Arya Stark in the hit TV series Game of Thrones. She’s spent her teenage years growing up in the spotlight but if her Instagram feed is anything to go by, Maisie has remained grounded and fun-loving.
Quote: “There is no easy way to get around horrible people on the Internet, and it’s either just leave it or don’t, and get sucked into the whirlwind of it all.”
Most likely to be pictured: On the set of Game of Thrones or looking stylish on the red carpet.
Expert verdict: “She’s very beautiful but I think there is a stability and maturity about her posts. I sense a more positive influence for people who engage with her on Instagram, she seems authentic.”
Name: Zoella (Zoe Suggs)
Famous for: This social media starlet is a professional YouTuber who gained a massive global following by sharing candid video diaries filmed in her bedroom. She also wrote the best-selling book, Girl Online, and her Instagram feed – showing skinny, pretty and wholesome pictures of her and her friends – is idolised by millions of girls.
Quote: “They’re probably just staring at you because you’re bloody gorgeous.”
Most likely to be pictured: Being mobbed by her teenage fans at a One Direction concert.
Expert verdict: “I’d say Zoella is the most negative. Girls can become obsessed with these YouTubers so she has a very big impact. What she puts out there can be heavily curated and may create an artificial, perfect image of life. ”
Name: Emma Watson
Famous for: Emma Watson is the British actress best-known for her roles as Hermione in Harry Potter and stepping into the shoes of Disney princess Belle in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. She is also UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and the founder of global gender equality campaign He For She. Followers: 38.4M
Quote: “When women support each other, we accomplish amazing things.”
Most likely to be pictured: Speaking passionately at the UN about gender equality and wearing eco-friendly fashion.
Expert verdict: “She’s still has that Hermione, fairytale fantasy image of this beautiful girl who’s a real friend: straightforward, uncomplicated and relevant. Everyone can be Emma. Her posts on gender equality and getting more girls reading are also very positive.”
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Name: Serena Williams
Famous for: Arguably one of the greatest tennis players of the open era, Serena Williams has won the Wimbledon singles title seven times. She’s also a savvy businesswomen and is as fierce and inspiring on Instagram as she is on court. Serena is strong and confident but not afraid to show her softer, girly side.
Quote: “The gender pay gap hits women of colour the hardest. I hope I can give a voice to those who aren’t heard.”
Most likely to be pictured: Working out on the tennis court or at the gym, even when heavily pregnant.
Expert verdict: “Serena’s posts hit home to young girls saying that you can be famous because you’ve actually achieved something and I think that work ethic shows. She turns hard work into these amazing achievements.”
Name: Gigi Hadid
Famous for: Gigi is a global US fashion model who came to the attention of millions for dating One Direction star Zayn Malik. Despite the model being half-Palestinian, she had never spoken of being Muslim, with many commentators criticising her for drawing on her Palestinian roots as it suits her.
Quote: “If you look at sculptures from hundreds of years ago, everyone’s naked. It’s not a bad thing.”
Most likely to be pictured: Strutting the runway or posing in designer outfits that cost more that the average mortgage.
Expert verdict: “Most of her images only reflect her career as a model. You don’t get a sense of someone who shares their life online. Do we want our children to look at models and think they want to be just like them? I think not.”
Advice for parents
Psychologist Marc Hekster said: “The more parents know about social media, the better as they’ll be more able to talk with their kids about it.
“Telling young people to stop looking at this stuff isn’t the answer. Letting young people know that their parents are part of this world could be.
“In some cases, parents having passwords to accounts can help. It means kids know their parents will potentially be aware of what’s appearing on their Instagram feeds and who they are following.”