Funnily enough, yesterday I wrote a blog post about how I believe social media affects body image. Today, new research has been revealed that 40% of teenagers experience negative body image as a result of viewing images on social media.
30% Of British Teenagers Feel Ashamed Of Their Bodies
The mental health charity Mental Health Foundation, which is the creator of Mental Health Awareness Week, released the results of an online survey targeted at British teenagers. The participants, which were aged between 13 and 19, were asked a number of questions relating to body image and the findings were alarming.
Approximately 31% of teenagers responded that they feel ashamed about their body image, with 40% saying that images on social media were the main cause of their worries. More than a third of these participants also said that they had restricted their diets as a result of negative body image, which incredibly frightening to hear.
It is also clear from the survey that teenagers are identifying images on social media as a key factor that makes them worry about their body image.Jane Caro, Programme Lead for Families, Children, and Young People
Social Media Causes Body Image Concerns
The full report – Body Image: How We Think And Feel About Our Bodies – also does well to highlight the other contributing factors on negative body image. It explores the commercial pressures that are put on young people throughout Britain and notes how these pressures promote bad mental health. In the report itself, it’s also been reported that half of people aged between 18 and 25 responded that social media has caused them to worry about their body image.
Obviously, this just goes to show that social media has a bigger impact than some of us would like to think. Despite many studies claiming that there’s no correlation between bad body image and social media, these findings prove otherwise. In a world where celebrities are constantly posting photos of their bodies and promoting unhealthy habits – such as using appetite suppressing lollipops – we are definitely being affected.
Are Social Media Platforms Responsible For Online Content?
Now the question is raised about what we can do about the issue. Should social media companies be held responsible for the content that they allow to be posted on their platforms? Considering that they’re responsible for censorship and monitoring the type of media being posted, some would say that it’s down to the companies themselves to be stricter about what type of content is allowed to be posted and promoted.
The study highlights the factor that young people – notably those that are under 30, the age group who makes use of social media the most – are indeed being affected by the images that they see online. Whether the purpose of the image or not, young adults are still constantly comparing themselves to the standard of society’s ‘ideal’.
What do you think? Should social media companies be held accountable for the content on their platforms or is this beyond their control?