The internet plays a big role in the daily lives of teens. It influences where they shop, who they look up to, and what they want to look like. The web isn’t typically the only reason a teen may develop an eating disorder, but it can have a big role.
Many social media models and influencers have normalized manipulating their pictures. Teens may know the photos have been altered, but it can still create an unrealistic expectation of what they should look like.
Websites and social media accounts that promote eating disorders have also become popular. Teens use the hashtags #ana and #mia to personify anorexia and bulimia.
Registered Dietitian Chelsea Edwards said, “Those are accounts encouraging eating disorders, not just thinness, but actual disordered eating, and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate than any other mental health disorder.
Edwards suggests that parents be aware of what their kids are doing online.
“If they’re following those or pinning those things or looking at those things, that’s a big red flag,” said Edwards.