Does the media contribute to the rate of eating disorders? The media plays a role in the development of eating disorders, especially image-driven social media platforms. These platforms expose followers to endless images that promote unrealistic standards of beauty, body weight, and diet.
Eating disorders are linked to emotional health and can be triggered by posts about dieting or other body image issues. Therefore, media literacy is an important part of preventing these problems. In this article, we will explore how media literacy can prevent eating disorders.
Positive body image efforts in the media
While the public’s perception of thin bodies is often distorted by the media, this may not be entirely the culprit. Studies suggest that the media plays an important role in promoting negative body image among young people. Positive body image efforts in the media can help increase a person’s self-esteem and help them feel better about themselves.
Nevertheless, Digital Specialist, more effort is needed to persuade the media to portray healthy models. The media’s negative body images may cause people to develop unhealthy eating habits and disordered eating. There’s a strong connection between the media’s positive body image efforts and the number of eating disorders, as many of us are exposed to images of perfect bodies every day.
As a result, we’re often subjected to constant comparisons with the idealized versions of ourselves on social media
Moreover, photoshopped bodies created with photoshop and filters create an unrealistic image of the human body. Negative body images affect both male and female adolescents. Moreover, they last through their entire lives.
While older females are more satisfied with their bodies than their younger counterparts, males are more likely to experience low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, media-generated negative body images intensify problems with mental health and self-esteem.
Therefore, media-based efforts to promote a positive body image may contribute to the rate of eating disorders
Studies have shown that male eating disorders are rising due to increased exposure to the media’s negative portrayals of males. Unfortunately, males are less likely than women to discuss these issues openly, and the stigma of seeking treatment for such problems prevents them from seeking help.
Positive body image efforts in the media have not increased significantly in the past decade, but this should be taken into consideration.
Influencers in fashion, beauty and fitness promote eating disorders
In a recent article, the National Journal of Eating Disorders cited evidence that social media platforms, like YouTube, have helped spread eating disorders. YouTube and SnapChat both banned content encouraging or promoting eating disorders.
However, other platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook are lagging behind in this area and need to improve their algorithms to identify harmful content. In fact, some influencers are actually actively encouraging eating disorders.
Some influencers are using their following to spread a particular image of beauty, promoting constant dieting and unrealistic body ideals
Their goal is to shape people’s perception of beauty, so they encourage them to exercise and follow strict fitness regimes. The images they post in their profiles and on their Instagram pages also show how they have achieved certain physical goals. The pictures of these influencers show them wearing tight sportswear and advertising for these products.
The study’s authors interviewed 143 people with eating disorders and examined the impact of social media and influencers on the epidemic. They found that fashion models, as well as fitness influencers, intensify the overcritical relationship people have with their own bodies.
Fitness influencers, on the other hand, promote fitness and promote healthy eating habits
In some cases, curvy models like Fine Bauer have been implicated in the promotion of eating disorders. Other influencers in these fields promote unhealthy diets. The Texas attorney general’s lawsuit against the fitness influencer Brittany Dawn Davis is a good example of this.
Davis offered online fitness packages to subscribers that included customized nutritional guidance and fitness coaching. Her services ranged from $92 for a one-time consultation to $300 for three months of coaching. Neither the Texas attorney general nor her lawyer responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Snapchat bans terms related to group chats
Earlier this month, Snapchat announced that it would ban certain terms associated with group chats relating to eating disorders. The new policy does not apply to video chat, but it does ban certain terms associated with these topics.
Users should avoid posting inappropriate or graphic content. Snapchat also encourages content creators to consider the potential health risks associated with such content before they post it. It has also added a page that lists resources for people suffering from eating disorders.
Furthermore, it’s critical to note that children as young as 13 are often expose to harmful content online
And it’s not uncommon for them to receive inappropriate messages from strangers. Unsolicited messages from strangers may include suggestions for extreme dieting, self-harm or suicide, or even sexualised images of the body.
As a result, the policies for digital platforms need to be update and enforced by government to protect vulnerable youth. Ultimately, a nuanced intervention approach would be better for children with eating disorders.
Teaching media literacy can prevent eating disorders
Developing a critical mindset about media images and messages is a promising approach to preventing eating disorders. Specifically, this program teaches students how to identify and evaluate the ‘unrealistic’ nature of media images and messages, as well as the role of the media in propagating unrealistic ideals of beauty.
Developing media literacy helps students to resist the influence of these messages, and thus help prevent eating disorders. But more research is need to establish the relationship between media literacy and the risk of eating disorders.
While media exposure increases body dissatisfaction and encourages weight loss
It also promotes internalization of the thin ideal. These modifiable risk factors for eating disorders can be mitigate by teaching media literacy to young people. The key is to ensure that these media literacy programs include age-appropriate and psychometrically sound media literacy measures.
The goal of any media literacy intervention is to reduce the risk of eating disorders. In addition to developing media literacy skills, the aim of teaching media literacy is to provide an enjoyable and effective platform for addressing challenging topics.
To begin, educators should consider existing, evidence-based media literacy programs
One such program is Butterfly. There are also several research-based media literacy curriculums available. If you’re looking for the perfect program for your classroom or community, check out this resource. It’s a worthwhile investment in your students’ health and future.
Although there is not a universally accept questionnaire for assessing media literacy, some research supports the use of two specific scales in the evaluation of eating disorder prevention programs. In particular, Realism Scepticism and Critical Thinking About Media Messages (CTMM) subscales showed a positive relationship with eating disorder risk factors.
Further research is need to improve these questionnaires and their accuracy
Once validated, these scales will serve as a useful tool in evaluating the effectiveness of media literacy programs. One study aimed to examine the effectiveness of an interactive multimedia program in reducing disturbed eating attitudes and the internalization of ideal aesthetics in adolescents.
The study included four classes of grade 8 students with various risk factors for developing eating disorders. Students in both groups were randomly assign to an intervention and a control condition. The participants were assess at baseline and after three months. Those in the experimental groups showed greater self-esteem than those in the control group. For Homepage click here