There was once a time when the world did not have access to the Internet let alone any sort of app. Even after the Internet was introduced to us, it took quite some time for social media sites to come up as well as set their apps. And now, the world has changed and how! Even kids have access to the Internet and multiple apps. Now, while technology may certainly have helped make things a lot easier for people, it has apparently led to disorders among teens.
Wondering what we're talking about? A new study has found that teens who spend a lot of time on social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram are a lot more likely to develop eating disorders. In fact, the study claims to have scientific backing and states that not only are kids susceptible to eating disorders but even body image issues due to their use of these social media apps.
"Social media is leading young adolescent girls and boys down a worrying path towards developing body image issues and eating disorder behaviours - even though they are smartphone savvy", stated the study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The study was also able to find that apps like Instagram and Snapchat that focused strongly on image posting and viewing options were used the most and also held the most risk when it came to influencing teens.
For the study, the researchers conducted a survey on around 996 Year 7 and 8 ‘middle school’ adolescents. These teens were asked about their use of apps like Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Snapchat. It was found that eating behaviour disorders were reported by nearly 51.7 per cent of girls, and 45 per cent of the boys. Most of them had started opting for strict exercise and were even skipping meals so as to stay "in shape".
In fact, it was even found that although more than half of the kids were below 13 years of age, nearly 75.4 per cent of girls and 69.9 per cent of boys had at least one social media account, the most common one being Instagram. A senior psychologist also stated that the more social media accounts these kids had, the higher their chances were of developing disorders relating to eating habits and body image.
“A key component of preventing eating disorders is to give the message that our self-worth should be defined by a mix of our abilities, values and relationships,” said lead author Dr Simon Wilksch. He also said that social media encourages these teens to focus more on their appearance and that, “to find these clear associations between disordered eating and social media use in young adolescent girls and boys suggests that much more needs to be done to increase resilience in young people to become less adversely impacted by social media pressures.”
Well, this goes to prove that social media hasn't been as helpful as we believe it to be. While it may provide great platforms for people to connect with each other, one must also understand that the key lies in moderation. Stay tuned for more updates.