Social Media’s Effect on Body Image


Photo Courtesy of Instagram

A phone case with the words “Social Media seriously harms your mental health” to spread awareness

Priscilla Kim, Photojournalist

Social Media. A word that is so common in this generation, that if one is not using nor on social media, it comes off as a surprise. Intended to bring people together, social media has shaped the way teens and children interact, communicate, and follow their friends or even people they admire. However, the people that they follow or look up to are creating false standards that can be detrimental to a developing mind. 

The cold reality is that social media does in fact harm one’s mental health. It creates unrealistic standards relating to beauty and more specifically body image. Teenagers and even young kids these days spend countless amounts of hours mindlessly scrolling on their phone through social media just to see the unrealistic body standards that society has created. In turn, as most young kids and teens tend to do, they translate what they see online as a necessity for their real life, which causes an unhealthy state of mind and body.

In a recent study, researchers have found that “social media engagement with attractive peers increases negative state body images.” The study was conducted where “participants would rate how dissatisfied they felt about their overall appearance and body by placing a vertical line on a 10-[centimeter] horizontal line” (Medical News Today). The results revealed how women’s perception of their own body changed and they felt even more insecure about themselves. 

Researcher, Mills stated that “when we compare ourselves to others, that has the potential to affect the valuation of ourselves” (Medical News Today). This holds true to many people as social media is constantly filled with the most attractive people to compare oneself to, thus creating an unhealthy and cyclical routine. Social media can even be linked to stringent dieting, eating disorders, or excessive exercise. 

Multiple people have even come out about how the feel towards the subject, one of them being Tatiana Ringsby (20) who is a well-known youtuber and model. She explains in a video how the modeling industry and social media caused her to develop an eating disorder and mental health issues. In a day and age where social media is so prevalent, it is important to raise awareness to the superficiality of social media and the harmful effects it can cause.

When asked about social media’s toll on body image, Claire Yum (12) stated how she thinks “it’s unhealthy for young girls especially, because they tend to look up to models, but that creates a false body standard for them.” Similarly, Savannah Pietsch (12) commented that it conjures up “unrealistic expectations for people and those who are young don’t realize what they are being introduced to.”