There are many factors that contribute the development of eating disorders. A person’s history, family relationships, role models, and peer pressure can all lead to an eating disorder. Researchers recently looked at the impact of Facebook and social media to find its relationship to the development of eating disorders.
The study, which was published in 2012, was conducted by researchers from the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore. It analyzed the effects of Facebook on body image, and found that this social media site does have an impact on users. The study found that 75% of Facebook users were unsatisfied with their bodies, and 51% said Facebook makes them more concerned about their weight. Social media sites like Facebook are full of photos and posts about people that are focused on their body image and weight. Someone who is uncomfortable with their body will constantly be comparing themselves to others on the site.
Dangers of Social Media
Dr. Harry Brandt, director of the Sheppard Pratt center, talked about the dangers of social media. “In this age of modern technology and constant access to smartphones and the Internet, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to remove themselves from images and other triggers that promote negative body image, low self-esteem and may ultimately contribute to eating disorders,” Dr. Brandt said.
Teens are especially vulnerable to pressure from sites like Facebook. Young people are still easily influenced, and can be made to feel self-conscious very easily. Because teens spend large amounts of time on social media sites, they can also begin to lose touch with reality, and start obsessing about what they see on the sites. Parents are encouraged to be aware of what their adolescent is doing on the Internet, and to set limits for the amount of time they spend online.