June 27, 2022
How Instagram led two young women to eating disorders

How Instagram led two young women to eating disorders

At the age of 14, Ashley Thomas experienced symptoms of anorexia. She weighed 38 kilograms and was in the hospital. Her heart stopped twice. Doctors didn’t think she would survive.

But she lived. Now residing in New South Wales AustraliaHe dedicates his life to helping other girls. Parents, children and teens are alerted about the dangers InstagramWhere, according to her, her journey toward what would have been her death began.

On the social network, Thomas started following food influencers in nature. She was an athletic lady who tried to have the most athletic body possible, and the bodies she considered perfect were appearing in her schedule every day, with likes and comments encouraging her to research what appeared in the photos.

“I just wanted to be loved and admired for what he was,” said Thomas, now 20. “I wanted to feel what it was like when I lived that.”

However, the opposite happened. She came to hate herself.

One of them commented that her stomach was prominent in one of her photos. Then, at some point, I stopped eating. Thomas claimed that her parents tried everything to get her to feed her. Even the Guardianship Council was called in to help get the girl to eat.

“I remember sitting with my dad holding my jaw and my mom putting food in my mouth because I refused to eat,” she recalls.

There is no quick fix for this.

What Ashley Thomas experienced is one example of the “toxic” effect of Instagram on young girls, which he described Frances Haugen, Former Facebook Employee in US Senate Testimony.

‘I think products Facebook social networking site “They hurt children, fuel divisions and undermine our democracy,” said Haugen, a whistleblower who has worked on civil integrity issues at the company.

An internal survey by Facebook itself, cited in one of the reports sent by Haugen, showed that “13.5% of teens present on Instagram said the platform made suicidal thoughts and self-harm worse,” and 17% said feelings associated with “eating disorders,” such as losing The appetite, also became sharper.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, made a file 1,300-word statement defending Haugen .’s claims. He said research on the tech giant’s impact on children has been misrepresented.

“We care deeply about issues such as safety, wellbeing, and mental health,” Zuckerberg wrote.

He added, “Many of the statements are meaningless. If we are to ignore research, why are we creating an industry-leading program to understand these important issues”?

In a statement, Facebook disputed the survey’s interpretation and insisted the percentages were much lower. The company also said it was complying with the regulations.

However, those familiar with the workings of the tech world say it will take a lot to save teens.

“Their business model puts children in this kind of an engagement cycle,” said Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humanistic Technology. “And that really worries me… that there is no quick fix for this. It is the intrinsic nature of the product.”

Experts say the content of strict diet accounts can serve as validation for users who are already prone to unhealthy behavior.

Pamela Keel, director of the Eating Behavior Research Clinic at Florida State University, said posting the photos on Instagram raised concerns about weight and shape, as well as concerns and dissatisfaction with appearance.

“This is actually one of the strongest risk factors for developing an eating disorder,” she said.

Kiel says Instagram’s wide reach among young women and girls means that such content being placed on its platform can be particularly dangerous.

‘You were supposed to die’

In her family video, Thomas is seen screaming and crying when her parents demanded that she eat. “I can’t do this,” he said.

In another video, she was told: “Come, open your mouth, put it in and swallow.”

“When I entered the hospital, the doctor said to me, ‘We don’t understand why you are here.’” Thomas recalls. “You must be dead.” “Actually, in the hospital, my heart failed twice.”

Thomas admits that she was “so addicted” to Instagram.

Anastasia Vlasova, an eating disorder survivor who lives in New York and attends Gallatin University Nova YorkHe said he had a similar experience. “I was definitely addicted to Instagram,” she said.

Vlasova was attracted to images of women with sculpted bodies and perfect abs. She said that the more color their bodies were, the worse she felt about herself.

“I’ve been bombarded with all these messages that you have to do every day, you have to do this kind of exercise or you have to do this kind of diet and avoid these foods,” she said.

Vlasova, 18, described it as an “unhealthy obsession” that struck many young people her age.

Young women argue that Instagram is putting their lives at risk not only by failing to crack down on reports promoting extreme diets and eating disorders, but by actively promoting such rhetoric.

“We shouldn’t end up in hospital beds or have to feed us through the nose or stomach tube, or say goodbye to our parents because the platform encourages us to be hungry or eat less,” Thomas said.

(This article has been translated. Read the original text in English)