Social Media and It’s Unsafe Diet Culture

By Corey Bennett

Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tiktok. These platforms are most used today by teens, with approximately 90% of kids between the ages of 13-17 having some sort of social media. 

Social media these days has a massive impact on teenagers; recent studies show that teens are viewing videos or using these social media platforms for almost seven hours a day. Without a doubt, the growth of technology and everyone having some mobile device has significantly impacted the psychological development of teens and how they view themselves. People on social media tend to post photos of themselves flaunting clothing or jewelry or with family. With young people being able to view these photos and videos most of the time, it leaves them unsatisfied  and feeling negative towards themselves. 

With social media and the online world able to track your likes and dislikes, we receive ads, videos, and photos of famous people and influencers. It causes people to look at those who may be popular, look down on themselves, and have concerns about their body image. Influencers on these platforms tend to have very loyal and trusting fanbases, with emphasis on trusting. Most of the time, these influencers use Photoshop for their photos to go toward what society calls the “norm.” For example, the “norm” for most women tends to be very thin, with perfect teeth and skin. While for men, it comes down to being generally muscular and tall. While on both sides, it comes down to having a good fashion sense. 

Many teenagers, after seeing this, want to remodel themselves and try to look like others. They try to adjust their bodies to try and match these completely unrealistic views through dieting and excessive exercising. Sadly though, the usual result from doing those things are mental issues such as low self-confidence, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even eating disorders. A study done in New Zealand and Australia shows that over 51.7% of girls between the ages of 13-14 are way more likely to have extreme changes to their eating routines and will tend to skip meals or over-exercise, 45% of boys have been reported having the same problems. 

Not only do we have those issues but social media also brings in the issue of cyberbullying. This bullying tends to be from any range and usually is about how people look. These comments can be very degrading and lead to mental health issues. Cyberbullying seems to have the same effect as influencers photoshopping their photos to try and match the “norm,” as it can lead to many people having low self-esteem and will try to change themselves just not to get bullied anymore. 

The main point is that the social media world should have some restrictions on it, and there should be more help for people affected and struggling with an eating disorder. 

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