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Social media, being used by people of different cultures and backgrounds, has got harmful consequences if used in excess. Doctors have confirmed that high social media use could cause serious body image issues.
A study published by Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has found out that people who were intense users in terms of volume (higher than two hours a day) and frequency (higher than sixty visits a week) were twice likely to develop negative body image issues than people who were not intense users of social media.
1,765 young adults (between the ages of 19 and 32) were surveyed on regarding the matter of social media use such as Facebook, Instagram, You tube among others. The research revealed that social media encourages the propagation of stereotypes among peers and increased the risk of developing harmful body image issues. Exposure to images and messages that promote the 'thin ideal' may lead social media users to develop negative perceptions of their bodies.
Women who spend more time on social media such as Facebook are prone to have a negative body image or a sense of insecurity about their bodies simply because of the comparisons they make of themselves and other women.
Social media also provides a platform where groups of people with a common interest or goal to be able to link up. For example, people with eating disorders (especially women) can find support and validation from their peers through social media.
Social media such as Instagram has been quick to ban any content that idealize or promote eating disorders such as anorexia. Their efforts have been somewhat in vain as people have been creative enough to create these pages or hashtags that still promote such disorders.
The connection between social media and poor/negative body image is not confined only to women, as men are also prone (not immune) to media images of 'ideal' body shape.
Most of the social media users are between the ages of 18-29,as they make up 90% of all the social media users. Thus the problem of social media being linked to negative body image will surely be on the rise for years to come. The society therefore has to make sure that it plays its part to eradicate various stereotypes that are developed by the social media. This will ultimately help to eradicate problems such as cases of eating disorders among others.