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Today’s vulnerable teen girls and adult women are constantly bombarded with online images of unreachable – and often downright absurd – physical ideals.Social media use is only one potential contributing factor to eating disorders.While a few social media users have glorified this body ideal for the last couple of years, the bikini bridge has only recently become popular.
: Images shared on Facebook and other social networks have the potential to lead to the development of unattainable goals regarding body shape and weight loss.
For example, a thigh gap isn’t attainable if a teen girl or young woman has slim hips that don’t allow her thighs to be far enough apart to create the now-famous space.
While research into the exact relationship between social media use and eating disorders is relatively new, mental health experts are finding cause for concern.
For example, about 80% of all teenagers use social media websites, including Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest.
They include: : Research suggests peer influence contributes to body dissatisfaction.
Although the study found no direct connection between time spent on social media and body dissatisfaction, its authors propose that social media may be a new avenue in which youth compare themselves with others.As with other mental health conditions, the development of eating disorders is complex.Low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, feeling a lack of control, perfectionistic tendencies, and / or being ridiculed based on size or weight are factors that play a role.When a user types in specific search terms, such as thinspiration, the search results are headed by a banner reading “Eating disorders are…disorders that if left untreated can cause serious health problems or could even be life-threatening.For treatment referrals…” Eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, are psychiatric conditions that can lead to profound long-term effects on a person’s physical and emotional well-being.Teen girls and young women post these images on their user accounts as well as share them with friends online.The thinspiration trend has become worrisome enough that Pinterest has started posting a warning regarding eating disorders.Parents, however, can take action to protect adolescent girls and young women from being negatively influenced by unhealthy and unrealistic body images.For example, the researchers in the Israeli Facebook study uncovered a factor that seemed to protect teen social media users from developing eating disorders.Additionally, someone with an eating disorder who sees thinspiration-inspired images, such as bikini bridges, could view attaining those physical ideals as a challenge, further entrenching unhealthy behaviors.: Social media use has the potential to contribute to low self-esteem, leaving some users with painful feelings of worthlessness, incompetence, and inadequacy as they compare themselves to other users.