Its no secret that teenagers today spend hours and hours on their phones or on other electronic devices. According to data from Common Sense Media, the average teenager spend a shocking 7 hours and 22 minutes a day on their electronic devices not counting school work (this survey was taken in 2019 before the pandemic). The most common apps these teenagers stumble upon are types of social media, apps such as snapchat and instagram. Like news sources, information shared on social media apps can be very influential on one’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a matter. This can be beneficial sometimes when spreading good, but as we all know that is not always the case. Cyberbullying is common in social media as there are not many restrictions and people are allowed to talk and post nearly whatever they want. So the question is how does social media factor into impacting eating disorders? Well recent studies have shown that there are multiple negative aspects of social media can affect eating disorders.
To find the main reason connecting social media to eating disorders, we have to take a look at cyberbullying, or the “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” Since the nature of social media is generally unprotected from bullies and attacks can be anonymous makes it so that people use social media to bully others. Social media is especially hard on teenagers who are still in the process of developing their body and minds which makes them more susceptible to others’ negative opinions about their bodies. Cyberbullying can cause depression, anxiety, and lower self esteem which are all symptoms that eating disorders feed off of. The more time these teenagers spend on the internet, the more negative impact it will have on them. Their ideal body image will change and their eating habits will change as a well.
So what can one do to avoid cyberbullying? Well for one one can not respond or retaliate against the person cyberbullying them. Since the bully is behind a screen, they cannot know if they are affecting the person they are bullying if the person doesn’t respond to the bully. Blocking them is also a good idea as they cannot contact you anymore. If none of these methods work, the next best thing is to reach out for help; others can help you cope and telling you that the things the bully are not true to any degree. Even though cyberbullying will most likely always be a problem, there are ways it can be prevented. Don’t let what others think of you and your body and live freely.