Social Media's Influence Of Eating Disorders

686 words - 3 pages

A major problem that has caused eating disorders in young women in the present day is the emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As these sites continue to grow in popularity, the hashtags and picture updates of some people can cause negativity to another’s perception of their own image. While seeing how other women choose to live their life, it can have an effect on others viewing and using social media. Negative implications from young women that are prone to using social media; have become more apparent in a technologically diverse age.
A recent study at Florida State University explored whether there was a direct link between eating disorders and use of social media. The answer they found was that “it’s complicated” (Mysko). The study composed of 960 students was broken into two portions, first was an eating disorder screening assessment with a series of Facebook related questions. Secondly, a smaller portion of women from the first part were either asked to use Facebook for 20 minutes, or research the Ocelot, which is a rainforest cat. The women asked to use Facebook expressed greater dissatisfaction with their body image as compared to the women asked to research the ocelot. Overall between the portions of the study, the researchers found a positive correlation between Facebook use and eating disorders. Those who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to worry about their weight and body shape, the researchers found. These women also tended to place greater importance on receiving likes and comments on Facebook, frequently untagged photos of themselves, and compared photos to pictures of their friends (Heyes). This begins to raise the question of how can eating disorders caused by social media be fought by the actual actions of the sites producers. An action taken by companies like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest was to ban “thinspo” content or any other account that were found to be encouraging eating disorders. Can monitoring these sites really make a difference? Many experts believe it’s a good start (Beller). Another tool used by groups like the Renfrew...

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