Instagram, Snapchat fuel eating disorders in teens: British education secretary

Hinds says this isn’t about just tackling illegal content, but things that are legal but harmful to wellbeing.

Social media has often been associated with body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms among (mostly) teenagers (and even adults).

The British Cabinet Minister is also of the same school of thought and has recently said that social media platforms create 'dangerous ideas of perfection' and must "get serious" about their responsibility and protect its young users.

According to a report by The Sun, British Education Secretary Damian Hinds says that social media constantly bombards youngsters with pressure on how to act and look 24x7, which in turn, makes it harder for teens to escape the low self-esteem.

“It’s time for social media companies to get serious about their responsibility to young people. Growing up has always been hard, but the internet and social media heighten the pressures. This isn’t just about tackling illegal content, but things that are legal but still harmful to wellbeing,” Hinds told The Sun.

Instagram, Snapchat fuel eating disorders in teens: British education secretary

Representational Image. Creative Credit: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Hinds warning came hours before several Cabinet ministers were scheduled to meet the bosses of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat at a summit.

Hinds isn't the first one to point out this association. Another research on the matter in January 2018 revealed a pattern of small-sized and positive associations between social media use and body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms and thoughts about using anabolic steroids. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat evidenced the strongest associations.

In 2017, some findings were published in the Journal of Eating Disorders about this, which showed an increase in the rise of 'bonespiration' and 'thinspiration' content on social media, which features selfies by young women of their skeletal bodies featuring protruding collar bones, pencil-thin limbs, hip bones and spines in a variety of poses.

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