‘I felt my body wasn't good enough': teenage troubles with Instagram

Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Internal research by Facebook that found its Instagram app worsens body image issues for young users has been leaked, revealing how aware the social media giant is of its product’s effect on mental health. According to leaked documents, research by the company over the last two years has consistently found that the photo-sharing platform is harmful to a large proportion of its users – particularly teenage girls. The app worsens body image issues for one in three teenage girls, according to the internal presentation seen by the Wall Street Journal.

Three people speak here about the link they have observed and experienced between Instagram and body image issues.

‘It’s easy to drown in the Instagram feed of beautiful people’

Emily*, 20, a student in Edinburgh, said she thought that Instagram contributed to her being diagnosed with an eating disorder when she was 19. She started using the platform when she was about 15, and mostly used it to follow fitness influencers. While her social media use initially provided helpful motivation for her workouts, it began to affect how she saw herself. “I felt like my body wasn’t good enough, because even though I did go to the gym a lot, my body still never looked like the bodies of these influencers,” Emily, who is now in recovery, said.

“Even though on one level I knew that social media is not reality, I didn’t really properly understand it.”

The 20-year-old now uses the app sparingly and with caution. “I now intentionally seek accounts whose posts make me feel good and empowered, and if I notice that a person’s posts are making me feel bad in any way, then I unfollow. I try hard to only follow people who have realistic posts and don’t edit their photos. It’s easy to drown in the feed of Instagram, because you can always find beautiful people with beautiful bodies,” she said. “Then you can dwell on that too much.”

Emily said that comparing herself with social media influencers was particularly damaging. “It’s more harmful, because you don’t really have the context. When you don’t know someone personally, it’s easy to assume that this person has no flaws and that their bodies and lives are perfect.”

‘My daughter developed anorexia over lockdown’

When her 13-year-old daughter announced she was going to start working out and eating more healthily during the first lockdown, Ellie* didn’t think much of it. “She was exercising, she was eating fewer sweets and eating more greens and fruits. On the face of it, everything was brilliant – but then it started evolving,” the 48-year-old, who lives in London, said. “Within six months, it had become anorexia.”

Initially, the teenager used Instagram to follow her friends and favourite actors, but her mother said she increasingly turned to influencers. “At that age, they have no filter – whatever they see, they take it as it is,” she said. “Nothing wrong with exercising, but it became an obsession. She would see influencers saying, ‘You can have the perfect body in three months,’ and she would believe it. Let me put it plainly: if she didn’t have social media, my child would not have been anorexic.”

Ellie spoke to her daughter about social media and the way photos could be airbrushed. “I was always contradicting the message that she was getting from Instagram, about stereotypically perfect bodies, and trying to give her wider perspective,” she said.

“But she would say, ‘Mum you don’t understand – all the kids my age worry about their body.’” The 13-year-old, who is receiving treatment, still uses Instagram. “She’s not following accounts to do with exercise, or ones promoting anorexia. My approach is not to take her phone – that would just aggravate her. I’m trying to teach her to use it sensibly.”

‘Most of my psychotherapy clients are now teen girls with eating disorders’

Since the pandemic, most of the clients seen by Anne*, a psychotherapist based in Guildford, are teenage girls with eating disorders. “I’m just inundated with young girls. During lockdown, lots of families were staying home and eating together. Eating disorders are really very secretive, but during the pandemic, people realised what was going on in their family units,” she said, adding that eating disorders had also been on the rise for years.

While concerned parents, or the clients themselves, do not always immediately identify social media as a contributing factor, the psychotherapist said it often came up “when you start digging a little bit underneath”. Anne thinks aspiring to any idealised version is dangerous: “Some of my clients and their parents say: ‘She does have Instagram, but she looks at positive people, influencers who promote healthy body imagery.’ For me, any kind of body imagery that we are promoting is still something that we try to aspire to. So even if it is something we’d like to think of as positive, we’re already labelling a body type.”

The psychotherapist said she was increasingly having younger clients referred to her, treating girls as young as nine for eating disorders. “I think social media together with the pandemic has definitely escalated the situation. During lockdown, we handed them devices because that’s all they had to do – school was online, it was the only way they could interact with their peers,” she said. “Eating disorders revolve around control, and in a pandemic, our world is very controlled by outside elements that we can’t really do anything about.”

Responding to the Wall Street Journal allegations, Karina Newton, the head of public policy at Instagram, said in a blogpost on Tuesday: “While the story focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light, we stand by this research. It demonstrates our commitment to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with, and informs all the work we do to help those experiencing these issues.”

* Names have been changed

• In the UK, Beat can be contacted on 0808 801 0677. In the US, the National Eating Disorders Association is on 800-931-2237. In Australia, the Butterfly Foundation is at 1800 33 4673. Other international helplines can be found at Eating Disorder Hope.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Aides say Sinema didn't interact with guests at wedding who wore 'disrespectful and racist costumes'

Aides for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) say that she did not interact with white guests at a wedding who came dressed in Native American garb. © Greg Nash Sen. Kyrsten ... Read more »

Bridget Marquardt updates status on relationship with Girls Next Door costars

A dozen years after their hugely popular reality TV show ended, the sisterhood of “The Girls Next Door” stars is still strong between two of the women, but not all ... Read more »

WNBA Finals 2021: Chicago Sky championship apparel is the fastest-selling WNBA gear ever

Being a new franchise in a city rich with basketball history like Chicago is never easy, but the Chicago Sky have earned their first championship this season. Founded in 2006, ... Read more »

UAE has made significant progress to advance human rights, says committee

© stock Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to President Sheikh Khalifa and chairman of the National Human Rights Committee. Getty Images The UAE has made significant progress to advance human ... Read more »

A woman's side-by-side TikToks show how easily videos can be edited to create unrealistic beauty standards

© Provided by INSIDER Doina Ciobanu posts social media versus reality videos on TikTok. Doina Ciobanu Doina Ciobanu has been posting side-by-side edited and unedited videos on TikTok. The posts ... Read more »

'I had to call my bank to cancel huge credit limit increase - I don't want it!'

© Provided by CapeTalk Consumer journo Wendy Knowler has been getting complaints about clients’ credit card limits being increased without their consent. The banks like to portray it as ‘we’re ... Read more »

Rishi Sunak's Budget branded 'underwhelming' as Chancellor comes under pressure

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is already coming under fire after announcing his Budget yesterday. The Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, has claimed the new economic plan will “hammer” ... Read more »

Expats gear up for Dubai Fitness Challenge

© Provided by Khaleej Times Bring out those sweat pants and get set to hit the road running… the Dubai Fitness Challenge is here with 30 days of 30-minute action ... Read more »

France considers vaccine passports for ski lifts over fears of Britons spreading Covid

France is said to be considering bringing in its health passport requirement for ski lifts at resorts this winter. The French health passport requires people to be double vaccinated or ... Read more »

Abu Dhabi expat survives severe stroke

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) is giving new hope to patients by offering the latest medical advances in stroke care. Seha said that several cases of cerebral stroke have ... Read more »

To the rescue! Alabama lifeguards CARRY 95-year-old woman to her beach chair every day for a week after spotting her daughter struggling to push her wheelchair through the sand

Dottie Schneider, 95, had been looking forward to her trip from Chandler, Indiana to Orange Beach, Alabama for monthsWhen her daughter Kimberly Waterbury struggled to push her wheelchair through the sand, a lifeguard took noteHe drove her down the beach in an ATV and carried her to a chairOther lifeguards took her there and back for five days, and Kimberly says they never made her mother feel like a 'burden'The lifeguards also would not accept tips, saying: 'All the pay we need is watching her smile' Read more »

Isn't she supposed to be on hunger strike? Topless Extinction Rebellion activist, 31, strips off at Downing Street in a bid to 'save the planet'

Laura Amherst, 31, protested outside of No 10 wearing only socks and trainersMum-of-one went to the gates of the Prime Minister's home with placardsShe wants the government to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2025Ms Amherst became famous for her topless protests on the streets of London Read more »

Two workers killed in scaffold collapse at Quebec paper mill identified

WINDSOR, Que. — Two workers who became trapped under a tangle of debris inside a Quebec paper mill when a scaffold collapsed this week were being mourned Thursday after the ... Read more »

Winnipeg police believe attack in hospital may be linked to two homicides

Winnipeg police say an attack inside a hospital is believed to be linked to a homicide in the city and another one south of the capital. © Provided by The ... Read more »

DOJ and Texas clash over abortion ban ahead of Supreme Court showdown

Washington — As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in a pair of cases over a Texas law that bans most abortions in the state, the Justice Department ... Read more »

Crescent Point Energy reports Q3 profit up from year ago as energy prices surge

CALGARY — Strong results for Crescent Point Energy Corp. in its latest quarter isn’t just the result of high oil prices, but the result of an industry-wide focus on operational ... Read more »

Austin's Card My Yard thrives during pandemic, celebrates 7 years

Yard signs reading “Happy birthday” and “Congratulations” in big bubble letters — adorned with stars, flowers, soccer balls and more — were a staple of the pandemic as families shifted ... Read more »

Ontario live music venues get clearance to hold standing shows

TORONTO — Ontario’s live music venues can get concertgoers back onto their feet after a sudden change in the province’s COVID-19 guidelines. © Provided by The Canadian Press As part ... Read more »

Canada leads G20 in financing fossil fuels, lags in renewables funding, report says

Canadian fossil fuel producers receive more public financial support than any in the developed world, according to a new analysis. © Provided by The Canadian Press And compared to subsidies ... Read more »

Domestic flights tax cut ‘won't increase emissions but could bring soaring electricity bills'

Passenger at Heathrow UK arrivals – Justin Tallis/AFP Reducing taxes on domestic flights will not increase the UK's overall carbon emissions but could raise electricity prices, the Institute for Fiscal ... Read more »

4 more deaths, 116 new COVID-19 cases reported in Manitoba on Thursday

© Lyzaville Sale/CBC Manitoba has reported more than 63,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Manitoba reports 116 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths on Thursday. Of those cases, 78 ... Read more »

Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt ace 'jugnu challenge', prove they're dancing queens! - WATCH

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Bollywood actresses Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhatt are the latest celebs to hop onto the ‘Jugnu Challenge’ inspired by rapper Badshah’s new music ... Read more »

US policymakers can't seem to figure out how to deal with South or North Korea

The U.S. faces a near-impossible mission with South Korea in a diplomatic minuet that’s sorely trying the cliché of U.S.-Korean diplomacy, “There’s no daylight between us.” American diplomats may still ... Read more »

Facebook changes name to Meta as Zuckerberg vows to create ‘new internet'

FACEBOOK has announced that it's changing its name to Meta. Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg announced the shock change during his future-gazing Facebook Connect keynote speech – where he detailed plans to ... Read more »

Not Mannat, this is where Shah Rukh Khan was when news of Aryan's bail broke

Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was granted bail by the Bombay HC on October 28. (Pic: Getty Images) Mannat shall light up today, October 28, for, after about three ... Read more »

Maryland rep deactivates Facebook, Instagram until reforms are enacted

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) announced on Wednesday that he plans to deactivate his Facebook and Instagram accounts until Facebook, which owns both social media platforms, and Congress “make substantial ... Read more »

Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2, 28 October 2021, Written Update: Ram's tough decision

© Provided by Pinkvilla In today’s episode, Priya and Brinda reach the farmhouse, and looking at the lavish house, Brinda wonders Ram is indeed rich. Priya tells Brinda that Ram ... Read more »

Political Row Over School Teacher Murder Case Intensify as BJP, Cong Stir Across Odisha

© Provided by News18 Political Row Over School Teacher Murder Case Intensify as BJP, Cong Stir Across Odisha A delegation of Congress on Thursday met family members of deceased woman ... Read more »

What's in Biden's latest budget offer: Climate programs and universal preschool, but no paid leave

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden delivered his latest offer to Congress on his plan to expand safety-net and climate change programs Thursday, the result of months of talks with lawmakers to pare ... Read more »

Southgate: New Palace academy can be catalyst for change

England manager Gareth Southgate called on the next generation of Crystal © PA Gareth Southgate Palace youngsters to make the most of the club’s redeveloped academy and urged them to ... Read more »

Isko says Duterte allowed to run for senator, Leody says he should face raps instead

© PCOO Duterte says Philippines-Korea free trade pact to aid post-pandemic recovery Presidential aspirants Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and labor leader Leody de Guzman gave different reactions to a PDP-Laban faction’s ... Read more »

‘Yessss', ‘Finally', ‘So massive' - Many West Ham fans erupt as ‘great' stadium news confirmed

As West Ham United continue to impress on the field, it appears Hammers supporters have something else to celebrate as the club confirm some ‘great news’ off it. © Provided ... Read more »

Apex Legends' first season 11 ranked split will take place on Storm Point

© Provided by Dot Esports Apex Legends‘ first ranked split in season 11 will take place on Storm Point, the new battle royale map. In addition to its presence in ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic