Essay: How widely available social media can cause development of eating disorders

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  • Published on: January 14, 2020
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  • How widely available social media can cause development of eating disorders
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It is in our human nature to compare ourselves to others. In today’s day in age, social media is a large tool in shaping an individual’s self-image and worth. Some of these platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, and more. With the advent of easily accessible mobile cell phones, children as young as preteens become exposed to what society deems as normal and acceptable. And because they are so young and can access so many types of media, the thoughts and ideas put into them can be detrimental for their physical and mental health. One of the biggest problems that can occur is eating disorders. Eating disorders(ED’s) are various psychological disorders that involve abnormal eating habits. They can occur in both women and men, but women have a 2.5% higher chance of developing an ED than men. ED’s can be fatal, so much so that nearly every hour, at least one person dies from the result of an ED(anad.org). China, India, and the United States have the highest rate of diagnosed ED’s(insidermonkey.com). ED’s can be caused by many factors, including genetics, biology, personality traits, and cultural traits. The most common types of ED’s include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa involves the individual to view themselves as overweight even if they are highly underweight, which results in limited food intake and intense purging. Types of purging include vomiting, taking laxatives, or excessive exercising. Bulimia nervosa is the act of eating large quantities of food in a short period, and in some cases purging afterward. Binge eating disorder is like anorexia and bulimia, with the individual eating unproportionate amounts of food in short periods of time, but instead without purging(healthline.com).
ED’s can develop at young ages, and as the children grow older and puberty begins to set in, they become more susceptible to developing one. Now with social media being as big as it is, teens begin to believe and assume that what is popular and “liked” the most is the only thing acceptable in their society. ED’s can have fatal impacts on children and teens. For example, those with anorexia can suffer from bone thinning and major organ damage, and those with bulimia suffer from weaker tooth enamel and esophagus inflammation(webmd.com). Being exposed to high quantities of social media and television can warp a child’s view on their body and therefore begin to develop an ED. A 2011 study done by The University of Haifa surveyed 248 women between the ages of 12 and 19(average age is 14.8) and found the more time they spent online, particularly Facebook, the more dissatisfaction they had with their bodies and self-image(sciencedaily.com). They also saw the females had a more negative outlook on food and were more likely to attempt weight loss diets and/or workout plans. A stable eating habit is crucial to a teens’ mental and physical development, otherwise, there can be harmful side effects in their adulthood.
Adults are also impacted by social media.

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