Social Media and Body Dissatisfaction

Social Media and Body Dissatisfaction

Six actions to protect yourself and your family

The modern world is full of people who are unhappy with their bodies. One in three young people (age 15-19 years) are very or extremely concerned about body image. More troubling is that a negative body image can start as young as three years old.

If we let it, social media can surround us with pictures of bodies that don’t reflect what society looks like. It is easy to compare yourself to these images and end up feeling unhappy with your body. If adults are unhappy with their bodies, this may explain why children worry as well.

We call this body dissatisfaction.

Studies show seeing pictures of styled lean bodies (a trend called #Fitspo) on social media does not inspire health. In fact, seeing these images can actually lead to disordered eating and ill health.

But while social media is part of the problem, it can also be part of the solution. Take these actions to look after yourself and your family:

  1. Give feedback on posts. For example, on Facebook you can report a post for example “offensive” or “misleading”. You can simply ask to see less of these types of posts.
  2. Be careful what your children see on your social media.
  3. Teach your older children to be critical of the images that they see in social media. We call this media literacy and is a powerful tool. Read more about media literacy
  4. Check your own social media feed. Follow, post and share content that shows all different types of bodies in your feed.
  5. Invite others to follow accounts that show different types of body shapes, colours and abilities in their posts.
  6. Unfollow accounts that make you feel guilty or unhappy about yourself, your body or what you eat.

Sometimes it is good to take a break from social media.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with body dissatisfaction or disordered eating you can get help by calling or emailing the Butterfly National Helpline