Facebook is an active social space for comparison, one that has been seen to decrease a healthy sense of body image in young women. An International Journal of Eating Disorders published study says anxiety over Facebook photos has been linked to eating disorders.
An eating disorder can be defined as chronic under eating or compulsively overeating coupled with an unhealthy preoccupation with body weight and shape. Those who suffer with eating disorders are consumed with body image, typically making disparagingly negative comparisons of themselves to peers and celebrities. This behavior further disintegrates their already fragile self-esteem.
Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
In linking Facebook with eating disorders, researchers evaluated 960 female college students, assessing the amount of time spent on social media sites, how important “likes” were, and whether or not they untagged photos of themselves. Those who were active Facebook users (95 percent), on average, spent 20 minutes on the site per visit – adding up to about an hour each day, according to Science News Daily.
Ultimately, women who reported spending more time on Facebook had a higher incidence of superficial, appearance-focused behaviors, a greater occurrence of diet pathology (eating disorders), and were more likely to hold a greater significance in receiving comments and likes on their status updates. These same self-obsessed ladies also frequently untagged pictures of themselves they deemed unflattering.
Study aside, Facebook competition for “likes” usually manifests in users strategically posting updates detailing exotic trips, awesome new jobs or promotions, their child’s stellar accolades, and an array of their most photogenic pics. But in some cases Facebook friends may view this edited material and make harsh comparisons to their own lives and posit themselves as failures.
[Photo Credit: Christy Mckenna]