Facebook, Social Networking Sites May Increase Eating Disorder Risks

Self-image may be altered by social sites like Facebook

Facebook may be responsible for the development of eating disorders among adolescents. This claim, as studied by researchers from University of Haifa, suggested that as more time is spent on Facebook, more teenagers are developing a disturbed sense of body image that could lead to various eating disorders. The most common conditions are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

The findings of the study were based on a survey of nearly 250 teenagers between 12 and 19 years old at the University of Haifa. The survey focused on media exposure and self-empowerment, and asked teens about Internet surfing habits and personal perceptions about body image and physical satisfaction.

The study further revealed that aside from Facebook, fashion content online features and leisure-related TV programs also contribute to a disturbed body image, which may also influence the development of bulimia and anorexia.

Parental supervision is a major component in the promotion of self-empowerment and consequent prevention of eating disorders among teenage girls, the study suggested.

Experts suggest parents to be as supportive as possible to children, especially for young girls, and especially during the teenage years.