Here a few interesting facts about Facebook:
- There are more than 500 million active users
- 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
- People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
- An average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
- More than 30 billion pieces of content including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc. are share each month
With so many users generating such a great deal of content, it’s no wonder that Facebook has had both a positive and negative impact on users, particular younger users.
In fact, a new study from the University of Haifa reveals some very negative consequences for young girls. The study has found that teenage girls who are more active on Facebook are at a higher risk of developing a negative body image and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
The study examined the TV-watching, internet, and magazine-reading habits of 248 Jewish adolescent girls aged 12-18. Participants also filled out questionnaires on their “desire to be thin, satisfaction (or lack of same) with their bodies, weight and eating.”
Results indicate a direct connection between Facebook use and a greater number of girls suffering from eating disorders or negative body image. Facebook, the authors argued, promotes a “single minded focus on oneself – one’s looks, habits, and behaviors.”
The study also found that a girls’ “personal empowerment” lowered her risks of eating disorders or poor body image and that parents could help protect their children by monitoring internet use and talking to them about the content and sites they are engaging in.
To say that Facebook causes eating disorders or a negative body image is hard to say, but the fact that it could be a factor contributing to a girls’ poor body image or body dissatisfaction is something I can believe, especially since the study points out that Facebook has replaced many of the “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” sites sufferers create to promote their love of an extremely thin ideal and give girls advice and tips on how to achieve such a body with eating disorders.
What do you think? Can Facebook cause girls to develop a negative body image or even eating disorders?
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Image by Thomas Euler used with a Creative Commons license - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaseuler/3752691544/