The Drawback Of Excess Social Media Use - Eating Disorders In Children

Excessive use of social media is associated with eating disorder in young adolescents, finds a study

Are your kids spending too much time on social media?

It wouldn't be wrong to state that social media today has become a way of life. The first and the last thing we do in the day, apart from in-between uses, is browse through various social media channels to look at interesting pictures, viral videos, our favourite celebrities and what not. For most people, it's almost like an obsession, where a life without social media is just unimaginable. So what's wrong with spending too much time on social media? Various studies have discovered that the negative side of social media usage are a range of health problems such as anxiety, depression, eye troubles and also eating disorder as found by a recent study.

According to researchers from Flinders University in Australia, their study found that excessive use of social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing such as Snapchat and Instagram, is associated with eating disorder in young adolescents.

"While a range of studies have focused on the impact of social media on body image, this is the first to examine the relationship between specific social media platforms and disordered eating behaviours and thoughts," said study lead author Simon Wilksch from Flinders University in Australia. Also, most other studies had earlier focused on older adolescents or young-adult women, he said.

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People often seek validation and approval from others on social media

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For the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers examined data on 996 grade 7 and 8 adolescents. The study on associations between disordered eating and social media use among young adolescent girls and boys suggested that much more needed to be done to increase resilience in young people to become less adversely impacted by social media pressures, Wilksch added.

During the study, the research team found behaviours related to disordered eating were reported by 51.7 percent of girls and 45 percent of boys, with strict exercise and meal skipping being the most common. Of these, 75.4 percent girls and 69.9 percent boys had at least one social media account, and Instagram was the most common.

According to the study, a greater number of social media accounts and greater time spent on them were associated with a higher likelihood of disordered eating, thoughts and behaviours. The researchers are launching an Australia-wide trial of the Media Smart Online programme designed to combat such pressures.

It's time for parents to take note and be mindful of their children's health.

With inputs from IANS


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