Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Research Links Social Media to Self-Esteem

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Research Links Social Media to Self-Esteem

Article excerpt

Byline: John Mingoia

FROM movies to magazines, traditional media has long been criticised for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards -- thin ideals that generate low self-esteem among women and girls.

In a new meta-analysis study, researchers from the University of South Australia have discovered a link between increased use of social networking sites and the internalisation of the thin ideal: the degree to which women strive to achieve an ideally slim female body.

When people regularly engage with social networking sites, such as Facebook, the images to which they're exposed encourage a psychological adoption of unrealistic beauty ideals, and this can lead to poor body image and low self-esteem.

The greater the use of social networking sites, the more likely it is for women to be dissatisfied with their body.

Given the rise of social media, this has the potential to place billions of female social media users at risk.

Our study assessed 1829 female participants, aged between 10 and 46, across six independent studies and found that those who predominantly used social networking sites for posting or viewing photographs were at greater risk of body dissatisfaction, as opposed to those who used the sites more broadly.

People using social media to post and view appearance-related items -- things like photos, profiles, videos or selfies -- were more likely to internalise the thin ideal.

And despite the fact that social media lets users create, upload and control content themselves, the same unattainable body ideals we see in traditional media are also reflected in the online environment. …

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