Mon. Dec 9th, 2019

Social media is causing eating disorders in young boys and girls, study claims

2 min read

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 12: In this photo illustration, logos of the Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, Instagram and LinkedIn applications are displayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone on May 12, 2018 in Paris, France. Faced with the anger of dissatisfied users, the Snapchat application has canceled certain changes, announced at the end of 2017, in the presentation of the application, announced its parent company Snap Friday. Snap, which accumulates the financial losses, announced last November a redesign of this app popular with teenagers to attract new users and advertisers. Snapchat is a free photo and video sharing application available on iOS and Android mobile platforms from Snap Inc. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

The research did not blame specific apps such as Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook (Photo: Getty)

Social media is causing young boys and girls to develop eating disorders, a study has claimed.

A new piece of research published today found that ‘platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing’ have a particularly strong effect on teenagers.

In the study, researchers from Flinders University in Australi examined data on 996 teenagers aged between 12 and 14 years old.

They found ‘behaviours related to disordered eating’ by 51.7% of girls and 45.0% of boys, with strict exercise and meal skipping the most common.

A total of 75.4% of girls and 69.9% of boys had at least one social media account, and Instagram was the most popular.

Kids who had a greater number of social media accounts and spent more time using them each day were more likely to suffer eating disorders.

The academics did not place the blame on specific networks like Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat.



Who to call if you think you or someone you know has an eating disorder

The following organisations offer help, support and advice.

Beat  – 0808 801 0677

Anorexia and Bulimia Care – 03000 11 12 13

Seed – 01482 718130

Samaritans  – 116 123

More information at NHS Choices .

‘While a range of studies have focused on the impact of social media on body image, this is the first to examine the relationship between specific social media platforms and disordered eating behaviours and thoughts,’ said lead author Simon Wilksch, PhD,

‘Further, most other studies have also focused on older adolescents or young-adult women.

‘Thus, 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.’

The study is published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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