August 5, 2013

FaceStarve? Social media and eating disorders

Statistics show that young women under 20 years old are far and away the largest group to enter treatment for eating disorders, and in particular anorexia nervosa.

The best news is that parents are geting their daughters help. The worst news may be that a number of these patients are younger than 10 years old.

Yes, 10. And social media seems to  be a large contributor to this troubling reality among “the Facebook generation.”

Teen and pre-teen eating disorders present in children as young as 7 years old being admitted for treatment, according to a report by

A study from the University of Haifa revealed that the more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image, and various eating disorders, according to the report.

But even though the studies found that Facebook was a contributor, the researchers said that ultimately it was up to the parents to control those habits, so parents are encouraged to get involved in their daughter’s media exposure.

“This study has shown that a parent has potential ability to prevent dangerous behavioral disorders and negative eating behaviour in particular,” researchers said.

Girls whose parents were involved in their media usage – who knew what they were viewing, reading, and what websites and social networks they were visiting – showed more personal empowerment, forming a protective shield against eating disorders.

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