Social Media Causes Eating Disorders

Social media use is growing every year. Teenagers average about nine hours of social media use every day. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are the main avenues teenagers use for posting and communication. Although social media is portrayed as a fun way to share pictures and communicate with your friends, instead it has created anxiety and a slew of other mental health issues. In addition to anxiety, social media can also increase your risk for disorders like body dysmorphia, anorexia, and other unhealthy eating habits. Having an account on Instagram has gone from sharing and viewing photos to a competitive anxiety-ridden part of their day. Many different stresses come along with having an Instagram account. Social media has become such a harmful medium, causing young women and men to develop different mental health issues and disorders.

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There are many sides to Instagram; posting, scrolling, and your profile. When teenagers are about to post, they now consider so many other factors in making one single post. They take into consideration, when is the best time of day to post to get the most likes, who is going to comment, and who is liking it. On the other hand, when teenagers are scrolling, they’re seeing celebrities, models, and society’s unrealistic beauty standards and comparing themselves to their edited photos. Not only are they comparing their own photos to others, but they are also comparing the likes and comments on their friend’s posts to their own. The last side to Instagram is ensuring your profile is perfect. Your profile is your first impression. Teenagers are looking at each other’s profiles and scrutinizing “follower to following ratio”, their biography, and profile picture. Is the stress behind social media harmless or is this causing real mental health issues in teenagers. 

Kim Kardashian attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New...

The way social media is growing as well as eating disorders I only see this becoming a bigger problem as the future progresses. I think a way of helping the huge issue is being open and honest about eating disorders which is why I think Eating Disorder Awareness Week is such an important and impactful thing. The theme this year is “Everybody Has a Seat at the Table”, this is a call to action for people to embrace diversity and inclusivity in body imaging and eating habits.

Anorexia, Woman

Personally I myself have struggles with body imaging issues as well as eating disorders from social media. I believe that at a young age when you are most vulnerable, you are like a sponge, soaking in culture and information. When all you see are bony skinny models, or more thick filled out women you are bound to compare yourself. You hit puberty and gain more weight and realize you don’t look like these skinny models anymore so you think it’s from your eating. You then start counting calories, but you find the weight not coming off as fast as you’d like, so you start working out and counting steps. Then you buy an apple watch to count your daily calories you burn, then your hair starts falling out, you find yourself being irritable, and a completely different person. It then starts to become an obsession. You then post a bikini picture on instagram and it is full of sweet comments and likes making you feel confident and you realize you crave the feeling of being admired and will do anything even jeopardize your health so that feeling never goes away. This has happened to me, as well as millions of other women and men all over the world. This doesn’t only apply to body dysmorphia, but also applies to overall appearance. I believe social media is influencing young beautiful girls to completely alter their face with filler, lip injections, jaw surgery, etc. I think influencers nowadays aren’t open and honest with beauty standards they set and it is ruining many young girls.

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