Could Facebook trigger eating disorders? Teenage girls who spend hours looking at posted photos ‘develop poor body image’
Teenage girls who spend hours flicking through photos on Facebook are more likely to have body image problems that could lead to eating disorders, doctors have warned.
It is not the overall time spent on the social network that is the problem, but the amount of time spent looking at pictures, they said.
This includes looking at other people’s albums as well as posting selfies.
The more they look at photos on Facebook, the more likely they are to think of themselves as too fat or as having the wrong body shape.
That in turn leads to body image problems which can result in anorexia and other eating disorders, said researchers from the American University, Washington.
They analysed the Facebook use of 103 adolescent girls along with their answers to a psychological questionnaire specifically designed to test their body image satisfaction.
Little connection was found between the overall amount of time spent on the social media site and how they viewed their shape and size.
But there was a correlation between spending a large proportion of that time looking photographs and body image problems.
These include ‘internalising’ where young girls begin to see a very thin physique, rather than an athletic one for instance, as being the ideal shape for them.
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