Facebook and Body Image Problems

body imageResearchers have discovered a link between specific Facebook activities and body image disturbances.[1] In fact, the study suggests that “appearance exposure” is linked to the most body image disturbances among young adolescent girls.1

The researchers identified an association between Facebook time spend on photo activity and poor body image among young girls who internalize a thin ideal physique.1 Usually these girls are currently unhappy with their physical looks and body size; therefore, they focus on wanting to change their body to their “ideal, ” which brings about low self-esteem.1

Body and weight obsession has seemed to be reaching new heights in our society, and Facebook seems to be a contributing factor.1 The social networking site leads to toxic effects, such as public body shaming, body comparisons, and self-criticism.1 In fact, 51 percent of adolescent girls report that seeing photos of themselves and others on Facebook makes them more conscious of their body and weight.1

At a moment’s notice, girls need to be ready for a snapshot that will likely surface on the popular social networking site.1 Forcing someone to be camera-ready all the time makes young girls feel self-conscious of their physical appearance.1 Facebook is making it easier for people to spend more time and energy criticizing their own bodies and wishing they looked like someone else.1 Due to modern technology, and constant access to smart phones and the internet, it is becoming more difficult for people to remove themselves from viewing images and other triggers that promote negative body image, low self-esteem, and contribution to the start of eating disorders.1

Approximately 61 percent of Facebook users log-in several times per day, and the amount of time spent on Facebook is increased.1 Therefore, adolescent girls spend more time thinking about what is wrong with their bodies and less time thinking about the positive. They are passing up engaging in life in meaningful and fulfilling ways.1 Researchers hope to encourage people to look at how their online use  affects their outlook and caution them against being overly critical of their own bodies or those of others while on Facebook.1

Overall, it is important to identify the contributing factors in this particularly vulnerable group.1 By identifying these factors, more effective prevention programs can be designed.1

[1] Nauert, R. (2013). Some Facebook Activities Tied to Body Image Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/04/some-facebook-activities-tied-to-body-image-problems/62823.html

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