Body Image and Social Media 📱
Updated: Sep 23, 2022
One thing that shapes our body image is our media consumption. Whether watching Netflix, scrolling on social media, or reading the news, we consume so much media. Unfortunately, this means we’re also overwhelmed by unrealistic body image through filters, photoshop, and the same type of people. Not only does this normalize bodies that only a few people in western society have, but it also leaves many from different backgrounds and experiences completely unrepresented.
As a result of this lack of real representation, we start to feel bad about ourselves. It’s perfectly normal for people to compare ourselves to one another. According to social comparison theory, humans establish their self worth based on comparison with others. However, people who compare themselves frequently may find motivation to improve but also life dissatisfaction, guilt, or experience eating disorders.
It’s even worse when that comparison is to something that isn’t even real, and thus impossible to achieve. It’s important to remember that many images you see have been carefully curated, with time spent on lighting, advanced filters, paid partnerships, ads and more. 📸
7 Tips To Cut Back On Social Media:
Try to follow the rule: No phones in the bedroom or in bed if you live in a studio or student dorm where this may be harder. Keep your phone charger away from your bed. Lots of people find it helpful to buy an alarm clock for the bedroom so you don’t have to use your phone.
Follow only accounts that make you feel good. 💆 Go through the accounts you follow and unfollow ones that make you feel bad about yourself. If some of these are your friends and it is awkward to unfollow or unfriend them, message them and tell them or try to hide their account.
Track your screen time and set limits for yourself.⏳ Your phone should automatically be doing this and you can probably find out in the settings! There are also other apps and tools that block you from using certain apps (like Instagram or TikTok) after a certain amount of screentime.
Hide apps in a folder or delete them off of your phone so you need to go to the web version to use them. They purposefully make it harder to use to encourage the app download.
Set allocated time on your calendar for social media time. 🗓 Try to only go on during that time.
Leave your phone in another room during mealtime.
Detox. Delete or suspend your accounts altogether for a certain amount of time. Notice how you feel and how often you try to reach for your phone and why.
If you have a partner, or are living with roommates or your family, suggest phone-free time, especially around mealtimes. 🥪
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Lindsey is one of the founders of Beanbag Health with a personal passion for eating disorders. She's a behavioral scientist with a background in health-tech and ed-tech in the US. She has designed healthcare and education programs at scale, engaging millions of Americans and thousands of students globally, including many from traditionally underserved backgrounds.