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Facebook Linked to Poor Body Image in Girls

Facebook gets a bad wrap for so many reasons, and a new study is adding to the evidence that the social media site can have some ill-received effects for some users.  Unfortunately, the study showed that when young women see photos of “real people” on Facebook, they are more likely to suffer negative body image than when they see models or celebrities on magazines or TV.

Study Follows Over 800 Female College Students, Finds Evidence of Facebook’s Ill Effects

The researchers, from the University of Iowa and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, followed 881 female college students in the Midwest and their use of Facebook.  The researchers also looked at the young women’s body image and eating and exercise habits, and found that the more time that the women spent on Facebook, the worse their body image.  Specifically, the women were more likely to feel badly about themselves and become overly concerned with their physical appearance after viewing images of other women on Facebook.

Study Not the First to Show Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders

There have also been several other studies showing a link between social media and eating disorders.  Eating disorder experts say that this is largely because social media expands the opportunities for women to obsess over images of other women and feel inadequate in comparison.  However, some experts also note that it is important for us to use teaching as a weapon against eating disorders, rather than blaming social media since it isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.  Specifically, teaching young women what body sizes are actually attainable can help give a realistic perspective and combat the compare and despair mentality that can easily overcome women when looking at photos of women anywhere–from magazines, TV, social media or a plethora of other outlets.

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