Instagram is a widely popular social media platform that allows you to scroll through people’s pictures, like, comment, and search hashtags for different topics. This platform can be used to easily scroll and compare your life to other’s lives who seem to have everything perfectly put together. In other words, Instagram can be a very toxic environment for those struggling with eating disorders. Many eating disorders begin at a young age which since Instagram has come to be popular, is proving to be more apparent. Social media obsession begins at a young age and many young adults/teenagers are struggling to live their day to day lives because of this obsession with how they are perceived on Instagram.
As of September 2019, Instagram decided to step in and try to make things better for younger Instagram users. Instagram has blocked users 18 and younger from seeing weight loss ads, weight loss promotions, cosmetic procedures, and celebrity postings about weight. Celebrities like the Kardashians have been made aware of the new changes and warned that posts they make regarding “skinny teas”, weight loss products, and cosmetic surgeries will be taken down. Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, released a statement saying “We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media”. This new policy is working towards removing the constant comparison that many Instagram users have when scrolling through other’s pictures.
Many people do not realize that although someone’s life may look perfect on Instagram, these pictures are just a highlight reel of good things. Instagram doesn’t show the day to day struggles or the possible battles with anxiety that the poster may be going through. With that being said, instagram is a breeding ground for eating disorders to develop for young women and men. Access to fitness bloggers, victoria secret models, etc’s pages allows for women and men to see completely doctored up images of skinny and toned bodies beginning the process of comparison. A comparison could initiate thoughts that are congruent with the kind of thoughts that come with eating disorders because the thoughts of not good enough or skinny enough begin to form. When young adults are flooded on their social media with people who are skinny and seemingly happy, it becomes hard to believe that you are enough.
Instagram’s new policy allows teenagers to use social media for what it is, which is a social platform to share your life with friends and family. Having such advanced technology now it is hard to not see weight loss ads, pills, etc if you have googled any sort of weight loss or even spoken about it around your phone due to the concept that your phone shows ads based on the content you’ve mentioned or searched. Weight loss ads and companies often profit from people struggling with insecurities so if someone is developing an eating disorder while using their products or programs, the companies have no clue that their products have possibly ignited those thoughts. Instagram will be putting a stop to the carelessness of big weight loss corporations and the multi-million dollar weight loss industry. Instagram’s new policy, teenagers and young adults can finally take their lives back on social media and not have to worry about being triggered or worried about seeing weight loss being promoted on their page.