The more time teenaged girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing eating disorders and a negative self-image, says a news study.
Eating disorders include abnormal mental and behavioural conduct related to food and body weight, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This study, conducted by Professors Yael Latzer, Ruth Katz and Zohar Spivak at the University of Haifa, Israel, examined the effects of two factors on the development of eating disorders in young girls: exposure to the media and self-empowerment.
A group of 248 girls aged 12-19 years participated in the study and were asked to provide information on their Internet and TV viewing habits, according to an university release.
Regarding the TV viewing, they were asked to give the number of popular shows related to extreme standards of physical image (the "Barbie" model) that they watched.
The girls also filled out questionnaires that examined their approach to slimming, bulimia, physical satisfaction or dissatisfaction, their general outlook on eating, and their sense of personal empowerment.
The results showed that the more time girls spend on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet.
Extensive online exposure to fashion and music content showed similar tendencies, but manifested in fewer types of eating disorders, the study said.