The Truth About Social Media and Teen’s Body Image

Whether people want to believe it or not, social media is shaping the lives of most teenagers. While it is great to keep in touch with distant friends and family, it has negatively impacted the way teenagers look in the mirror. With approximately 3.6 billion people on social media, teenagers are exposed to many different cultures, people, and ideals. Although, people typically present themselves in the best light to paint the image that they are perfect. 

The “thin ideal” is just one example of the way teens can be affected by social media. Women’s bodies on social media are typically portrayed as slim with a small waist and little body fat. It makes being thin look attainable and easy to do which is not true for everyone. All bodies are different and unique in their own way and looking at someone who says otherwise can really affect the mental and physical health of these teens. Chloie Brion states “I get insecure and jealous. I eat less to look more like what people want to see in their feed”. Studies have also shown that social media has a significant impact on eating disorders. When teens look at the “ideal body” and recognize that they don’t have it, they will do anything from halting their eating to even purging their meals.

On the contrary, social media has been shown to have a positive effect on body image for some. Many people will see these pictures of the “ideal body” and become inspired to achieve it. They will change their diet and begin working out healthily. Many influencers have also started creating accounts that support all body types, from plus size to petite. Jamie Presti comments “There are certain accounts on Instagram that appropriate what women’s bodies really look like and it definitely helps to follow them”. With these emerging accounts that embrace all bodies, social media would be less of a threat to teenager’s bodily images. Completely disconnecting from social media can also be a solution to the growing issue of body dissatisfaction. Teens can be given time to regain a feeling of self-worth and reconnect with their own lives.