Social Media has always been and will always be a device to promote the insecurities of a negative body image. From the occasional “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” website featuring ways to amplify malnutrition in a “model’s diet” to the prospect of purchasing weight loss supplements (most certainly not FDA approved), the entirety of the World Wide Web is a tool to boost self destructive content. Since Facebook has been known to attract oodles of negative media, it is effortless to include that Facebook supplies today’s youth with the conception of a distorted body image.
Researchers at the University of Hafia claim that Facebook promotes eating disorders in adolescent females more than television and magazines. After studying 248 girls, ages 12 to 18, the researchers, Dr. Yael Letzer, and Professors Ruth Katz and Zohar Spivak, found a direct relationship between the amounts of involvement on Facebook to the amount of eating problems the girls interviewed face. The claim states that while Facebook does not essentially cause eating disorders, it is a direct instrument of judgment of body image and self worth between individual profile pages for young people.
But, let’s be honest, it’s not just teenage girls. Regardless of one’s gender and age, any social website in which profile pages are featured, competition will exist between users, both professional and personal. For instance, on dating sites you will not have a first date with John Smith because his receding hairline is drastic at the tender age of 27, while on employment sites you will not hire the hot nanny because you’re afraid your husband might cheat on you with her. Facebook allows everyone to make evaluations amongst an assortment of profiles, and it’s not just body image comparisons but it’s what you do for a living, the amount of friends you have and the status updates that reveal all the “cool” shit you’re doing and they are not.
Facebook does not allow material that promotes self-harm which includes eating disorders. Recently, Facebook started working with the National Eating Disorder Association to change internal procedures to better serve and protect users. Facebook also locks account functionality (sometimes the complete account) for those who regularly post material that can be deemed destructive online. The study did make known that girls with “personal empowerment” and parental involvement are less likely to have a defective individual body image or suffer from eating disorders.
What this all boils down to, is once again monitoring what your children are actually doing on World Wide Web, Facebook included. For those who are older and do not have parental supervision, take a deep breathe and sign off. Seek professional help if you’ve got tremendous insecurities about what you look like or what you do and please do it before logging back on.