A new study highlights another reason Facebook might be bad for you.
According to the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt
in Baltimore, 51 percent of respondents to a survey said that seeing photos of themselves on Facebook makes them more conscious about their body and weight. When comparing their bodies to friends’ bodies in photos, 37 percent feel they need to change specific body parts.
“Facebook is making it easier for people to spend more time and energy criticizing their own bodies and wishing they looked like someone else,” said the Center’s director Dr. Harry Brandt in a press release
“In this age of modern technology and constant access to smart phones and the Internet, it's becoming increasingly difficult for people to remove themselves from images and other triggers that promote negative body image, low self-esteem, and may ultimately contribute to eating disorders.”
The survey of 600 people, ages 16 to 60, found that 80 percent log in to Facebook once a day with 61 percent logging in several times a day. The survey sample was 33 percent male and 67 percent female. Among male respondents, 40 percent agreed that they sometimes write negative comments about their body in photos on Facebook compared with 21 percent of females.
According to the study, 12 percent of respondents have or had an eating disorder, while eight percent believe they may have suffered one.
Other research has noted the potentially harmful effects of Facebook use. A study from February said
that the social network is bad for people with low self-esteem. Facebook has also helped fuel the growth of cyber bullying
, and there are, of course, the social network’s numerous privacy concerns
In Facebook’s defense, the social network has taken steps to address privacy and it will delete posts
related to bullying or encouraging of eating disorder behavior.
Brandt, from the Center for Eating Disorders, said the organization hopes “the results of this survey encourage people to really look at how their online behavior affects their outlook, and we caution them against being overly critical of their own bodies or other people's bodies while on Facebook and other social networking sites.”