“Spending too much time on Facebook can lead to lower self-esteem”

Young women who spend time on the site, particularly teenagers, may find that looking at others’ photos can lead to negative body image.


by Closer staff |
Published on

A study surveyed 881 female college students who were asked about their Facebook activity in the past month, including how long they spent browsing and what their favourite activities were.

The students were given questions such as: ‘When looking at someone else’s photos on Facebook, how much attention do you pay to: 1) how they dress, and 2) their body?’

The women were also asked about their eating habits, body image, and current and ideal weights.

While Facebook usage was not found to have any direct relation to eating disorders, ‘it did predict worse body image among participants,’ said study author Dr Petya Eckler.


The report suggested that as the time spent browsing fellow students’ profiles and photographs increased, so the individual started to pay more attention to their appearance.

The rise of ‘selfies’ posted on Facebook was found to have a more significant (negative) impact on self-esteem than traditional media forms and celebrity images, as people are more likely to compare themselves to their peers.

Dr Eckler added: ‘Feeling negatively about yourself and increased body comparison is sort of the first step towards disordered eating. Not in everyone, but that’s definitely one of the phases women go through.

‘Participants in social media are people we know. These comparisons are more relevant and hit closer to home, yet they may be just as unrealistic.’

What do you make of Dr Eckler’s comments? Do you find spending time on social media sites has an impact on how you feel about yourself?

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