You don't can't blame social media for everything.
I spent a few nights last week look at the treasure files as the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen , outing to The Wall Street Journal on Instagram's impact on teenage girls. My first instinctive response was: I need to keep my two young daughters away from social media until they are 40 years old. with a series of posts calling Instagram " toxic "and a sump " for teenage girls, are a source of panic.
But then I tookin hindsight and remembered that I was a teenager myself. I didn't feel good in my body. I often compared myself to my friends and spent many hours a day parked in front of the TV watching MTV, my eyes fixed on every TLC member's impossible-chisel abs. My parents tried to ban MTV when I was 12, partly because of the overly sexualized images of women, but I just watched them when they weren't around.
So I know from experience that keeping my kids away from social media forever is not realistic, and I also wonder: how do we know for sure that social media social media is worse for teenage girls than traditional media was for previous generations?
What the research says
The answer is not as simple as it may beThis is suggested by statistics from internal Facebook documents and subsequent reports. First, as Anya Kamenetz, reporter at NPR and author of "The Art of Screen Time", underlined : Facebook search had a small sample size and was not peer-reviewed. It's also worth noting that teens may struggle more with depression and anxiety right now because, like all other demographic groups, we are all still living in a pandemic .
Second, after reviewing the academic literature on media and body image before and after the existence of mediasocial, it seems that inaccessible views of women's bodies have long had a negative effect on adolescent girls, who are already at a very vulnerable developmental time as their bodies change. Social media can accentuate this moment of vulnerability, but it's the impact is not definitive.
Fr 2009, the year before Instagram launched, a literature review on mass media and image body in young women revealed that television and magazines were probably the "main source" of information on "the ideal slim beauty" and how to achieve it, and that the repeated exposureSuch media can be a risk factor for body dissatisfaction, eating disorders and weight problems. a class = "css-1g7m0tk much more dissatisfied with their bodies than teenagers, and that lower levels of body satisfaction were linked to higher levels of dieting and eating disorders.
Do these results differ from what we know about social media and its impact on body image?
Research reveals fairly consistently that image-based platforms like Instagram have a" little connection to negative body image, " Jasmine Fardouly , a social psychologist and researcher at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Research on non-image-based platforms, like Facebook, is a bit more mixed, she said.
And there are concerns among experts, like Dr. Jenny Radesky, an assist and professor of pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Michigan who studies the use of digital technology in families, that what makes a platform like Instagram particularly insidious to some teens is the extra layer of validation they observe through likes, comments and shares from their peers. "If information is given to you within a trusted social network, it may be something the user accepts, believesor trusted more easily, "said Dr Radesky.
However, even the search that finds spending time on social media is associated with more eating disorders and negative feelings about body image be careful to note , causality cannot be determined: in other words, these studies cannot determine whether girls who are prone to eating problems, for
"Just being on Instagram is nots harmful is the way you use it, "Dr Fardouly mentioned. When we only look at the potential negative effects of social media on teens, we are also ignoring how they can be a good influence. . Dr Fardouly has carried out studies showing that positive body content representing a range of shapes and sizes and des parodies of thin-ideal content can improve the mood of young women - although the research is preliminary.
How parents can help girls grow back
As individuals, we cannotnot control what social media giants like Instagram are exploding in the ether, or how their algorithms work. But as parents, we can mitigate the effects of images that can potentially make our children feel bad about themselves. First, we need to control the social media entry point, Dr. Radesky said. If your child is under 13, he is not supposed to create their own account , because collecting data on children goes against United States privacy laws .
If your kids are interested in social media , because they allow them to connect withc other kids while we are still in a pandemic, you can encourage them to use apps like iMessage or FaceTime, which allow them to chat without "liking or social comparison or posting to followers". These tools are also a better match for the type of socialization they do in person, Dr. Radesky said. If they're interested in something like TikTok, you can explore this app with them, monitoring what they see, she said.
Introducing your children to social media literacy at a young age is an essential tool, said Dr Yolanda N. Evans, associate professor at the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics specializing in Adolescent Medicine. For example, she said that if you observe your child looking at an ultra-manicured photo of a friend, you might say something like, "I noticed this photo ofso and so looks professional, how many takes do you think they took to get it? It helps them think critically about what they are seeing. "
If your kids are older and already on social media, you can encourage them to organize their feeds so that they don't just have #fitspo and extremely slim bodies. And try to model good technological hygiene yourself, Dr Evans said, whether it's a family rule that there is no phone at dinner or after 9 p.m. She recommends this interactive American Academy of Pediatrics media plan, which you can customize for your own family's needs.
I have no illusions that my daughters will always feel bien in their body. I'm certainly not impatient for them to be on social media, especially a data privacy perspective . But I am happy that I can arm them now, while they still listen, with weapons to push back the thin ideal wherever they meet it. articlebody>