Social media influencing Body Image

Social media can either be on your side or negatively criticize you.

Social media is a very large mass media that most people use everyday. You can find all sorts of genres on it like cooking, athletics, and social media influencers. With new generations, people of all ages are using social media. As a young girl seeing social media influencers who portray a slim look may affect one’s body image. Growing up I never really cared about my body image till I saw all these Instagram models on my feed. It made me feel self conscious about my body and weight. Many girls feel this way as well. According to a CNN report, “56% of the children had their own social media accounts, based on the parents’ survey responses. Among those children, the parents reported that the average age when initially signing up for the account was 12.6 years.”

When on any social media platform, you begin to see a pattern. There are so many posts praising all the slim and thin females, however we rarely see that for others of all sizes. With that, many people who don’t fit in that category may start to look at themselves differently. According to an article, “Their mental perception of what they look like can become distorted, leading them to engage in risky behaviors when they feel they don’t measure up to the impossible goal set in front of them.” The media can heavily influence the way people perceive themselves as well as how they feel about their looks and body. This mindset can cause many issues including mental illness and eating disorders. Another article I looked at showed some percentages regarding how social media influence teens and this does not exclude the boys. Some of the facts are listed below.

  • Over 70 percent of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks
  • About 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood
  • Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are 4 times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they’ve ended up regretting later
  • 38 percent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6 percent admitted to experimenting with steroids
  • 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating

Mental health issues and eating disorders are very serious issues. We can see these develop in young girls and teenagers, especially with the growing technology and social media presence. In a study conducted by The University of Haifa, “248 girls aged 12 to 19 found that the “more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image and various eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and exaggerated dieting.” It is difficult to see the social media world praise people who are thin and slim. However, recently many people have been supporting people of all sizes. With all the support, many companies and agencies have been welcoming people that are different shapes and sizes. It is nice to see that women are being more proud of their body and showing others that you are beautiful no matter what you look.

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