Social media damages body image more than mass media
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Dec 22, 2016
Social media damages body image more than mass media

Compared to billboards and the big screen, Instagram might seem innocuous in shaping damaging body ideals – but it’s actually at the forefront of image problems. With social media masquerading as honest and real, people are forgetting that it can be just as airbrushed as other media.

People have long been wary of the negative effects that popular media and celebrity culture have on body image. But in research on female university students, social media has ousted these platforms as the driver of damaging one's self-image. The study found social media to elicit more frequent and more harmful image comparisons than magazines, billboards or TV. Women commonly judged those on social networks as more attractive than themselves – a likely byproduct of careful photo selection, editing and enhancement. In keeping with the 62% of Gen Yers for whom social media fuels feelings of inadequacy, women who had recently viewed social media were unhappier and more motivated to engage in unhealthy weight loss pursuits.