Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Body Image Concerns Fed by Social Media

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Body Image Concerns Fed by Social Media

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Paxton

SOCIAL media is a wonderful way to connect with others, share experiences and opinions and express ideas. But it can have a dark side for body image, which requires a critical and thoughtful approach to counteract.

People who have body image concerns feel worried, distressed and unhappy about their appearance, weight or shape. They may be concerned about being too large, too small, not curvy enough, or not muscular enough.

Body dissatisfaction of this kind causes a great deal of distress and can lead to severe psychological and physical problems. Consequently, body dissatisfaction has been identified as a serious public health problem.

Viewing pictures in magazines and on TV that show thin, attractive women or muscular, lean men has been shown to lead to body dissatisfaction. New research is looking at effects of use of social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. This shows people who frequently use social media are also likely to have problems with body image.

Social media can be toxic for body image. It is highly visual and interactive, and appearance is central to success. Collecting "likes" and followers provides an immediate marker of achievement and popularity. These feed directly into users' sense of self-worth.

The interactive and sometimes anonymous nature of social media means feedback is instant and unfiltered. Negative feedback and criticism abound. This creates greater pressure on appearance and competition to outdo one's peers.

Using social media often revolves around appearance. …

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