Impact of Social Media on Eating Disorders in Adolescents
Adolescence is an age when both appearance and peer pressure rule the mind. So it’s no big deal that teenagers are obsessed with how they are scrutinized online. Adolescents who use social media excessively, probably develop eating disorders as stated in new research studies. Those suffering from eating disorders can habitually suffer from depression or anxiety and may get addicted to drugs. Sharing the Impact of Social Media on Eating Disorders in Adolescents.
What is an Eating Disorder?
An eating disorder is misinterpreted as a lifestyle choice. But in reality, it is a serious and fatal mental health illness. It is related to an extreme disturbance in eating patterns and associated thoughts and emotions. Fixation with food, body shape, and weight, perhaps points to an eating disorder. Common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder
Even when they are alarmingly skinny, adolescents with anorexia nervosa perceive themselves as weighty. They weigh themselves constantly, restrict the amount of food they eat, often exercise overly, and force themselves to puke or take purgatives to reduce weight. Anorexia nervosa accounts for the most deaths of any mental disorder. They may die of suicide or problems accompanying starvation.
Bulimia nervosa is contrast to Anorexia. Those suffering from bulimia nervosa have repeated and frequent periods of eating big quantities of food. Recompense for the binge-eating is enforced vomiting, fasting, extreme use of laxatives, or all of these together. Those suffering from bulimia nervosa can be a little underweight, normal, or obese.
The most common eating disorder in the U.S is Binge-eating. This disorder is synonymous with gluttony. Dissimilar to bulimia nervosa, binge-eaters do not go for fasting, purging, or over-exercise. As a consequence, persons with binge-eating disorders are fat or obese.
Impact of Social Media on Eating Disorders in Adolescents
Statistics show that 69% of children own a smartphone by the time they are 12. Almost all of them are on social media. The most popular platform is Instagram. Adolescents go through mood swings subject to the number of likes and comments.
Before the blitzkrieg of social media by 2010, teenagers compared themselves with their peers only when they had free time. Now the endless bombardment of picture-perfect filtered images has transformed mindsets drastically. One study in 2016 found that non-stop use of social media and damaging body image issues end in perpetual body dieting, self-objectification, and body scrutiny. The negative impact of body image stems from comparison with others while scrolling social media channels.
There are triggers to comprehend the Impact of Social Media on Eating Disorders in Adolescents–
1. An Idealistic View of Body Image
Social media is flooded with pictures of models, celebrities, sportspersons, and the newbie social media “Influencer Models”. Tweens and Teens idolize them and desire to be like them. These photos are filtered, airbrushed, and chosen out of many. These pictures are shot when they are at their best. Adolescents believe that these doctored images are for real and want to ape them.
According to data, 8% of Instagram accounts are phony, and they usually do not share their personal pictures but those of celebrities and supermodels. It is misleading the youngsters.
Studies indicate that until the ’20s, maturity and worthy decision-making abilities are not formed. It is not surprising that teenagers fall for whatever they see on social media and accept it as the gospel truth. Especially girls who have a negative body factor playing on their minds and already suffering from an eating disorder are sitting ducks. They are always looking for approval from their peers and social media followers. The pressure of matching up to their idols leads to unnecessary pressure that can cause eating disorders.
2. Less real interactions
Girls with eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and binge-eating, usually indulge in their eating in private. A feeling of shame arising from their actions and curtailing interaction gives them a feeling of loneliness. This trait of loneliness is closely linked with eating disorders. Teens these days prefer to connect on social media rather than make friends in real life. They find it easy to socialize as the internet gives a lot of ease and anonymity. Social media is a great distraction that keeps them away from meeting their friends in person.
3. Feeling Left Out
Teenagers with eating disorders generally have few friends and have issues, socializing. Data shows, that there is substantial proof; recovery from eating disorders depends on support from their social circle and consistent social interaction. Social media can easily make you feel left out. Friends keep posting pictures of their fun activities, or even people you follow may be having a great time while you are brooding alone at home. Such things can worsen things and stir up the emotions of teenagers who are on the road to recovery. They blame their body or behavior for not being invited by their friends. Extreme starving or bingeing is a consequence of this situation.
Tweens and teens are not aware of the negative side of social media. As stated by the National Eating Disorders Association, 65% of persons acknowledge that bullying caused eating. Bullying in school is reported and may be punished. But the anonymity in Social media gives bullies a chance to go too far as they cannot be caught. Research is going on to verify that regular school bullying is milder than mental cyberbullying. Teenaged girls who already have eating disorders are easy targets as they are body shamed. The results of this could be shattering. Cyberbullying causes fear, social anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, all fallouts or reasons for eating disorders.
5. Easy contact with pro-Eating Disorder Fraternity
The internet is full of pro-eating disorder websites that are known as “pro-ana” aka pro-anorexia, and “pro-mia” aka pro-bulimia. Social media gives them a comprehensive platform to put forth their ideas. The fraternities are formed especially to target those with destructive behaviors linked with eating disorders. They refer to them as lifestyle choices and strongly refute that they are mental ailments. The members of these fraternities share stories, pictures, and even tricky ploys and instructions.
NEDA’s Head of Youth Outreach, Claire Mysko, said, “We live in a culture where eating disorders thrive because of the messages we’re exposed to. Social media heightens that exposure.” She further elucidated that actions related to eating disorders, such as seeking approval, comparison, rivalry, and fixation, are exaggerated, and the spotlight is on them via social media.
‘This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter’
Do check out Empathy & Mental Health are Interlinked, How I exorcised the depression Monster in 2020, 10 ways how a dog can help in depression, 10 best and worst things to say to someone with depression, Complementary and alternative therapies for depression.