Could social media impact eating disorders? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Could social media impact eating disorders?

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Studies suggest that the average teen spends approximately nine hours a day on social media. 

The National Eating Disorder Association reports that just 30 minutes on social media is enough to change the way someone views their body. 

"So much out there that's incorrect. And teenagers tend to be all or nothing all-in type of people. And that's just a function of how their brain works," said Dr. Jessica Castonguay, an Adolescent medicine specialist with the Akron's Children's Hospital. 

It's just one reason why experts believe social media could be causing an increase in eating disorders. 

"Kids are much more likely, teens are much more likely, to compare themselves to their peers. If they're seeing any of their peers with these body changes, they're much more likely to want to be like that and try to present themselves in that way. It can absolutely be triggering," says Dr. Krista Caldwell, an Eating Disorders Psychologist at Akron Children's Hospital. 

Caldwell says a significant part of recovery comes down to logging how a teen might feel after going on social media for a while. 

"Who are you following on Instagram? What's your emotional response to looking at those individuals, and is it worth following them? Do we maybe need to click unfollow? Or going through Snap; who are we talking to? Or are there certain people that we get Snaps from that are just triggering and not helpful? What do we do to manage that and how do we find a way to cope?" says Dr. Caldwell. 

Caldwell continues to say that putting a time limit on screen time may affect how teens feel when they are interacting face to face rather than with a screen. 

Dr. Castaonguay tells her daughter if she does not know the person in real life, then there is no reason to follow them or interact with them on social media. 

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