Social platforms push unhealthy eating habits, mental breakdowns

June 5, 2018

Talk to friends, family about cutting, unhealthy body image, bullying


Nick Nelson/Staff Illustration
Mental breakdowns can come from negative comment from social media

Technology has brought a new era improving lives, yet not without its pitfalls. Social platforms used in everyday lives making it easy to find information. With this effortless access to information, it is sometimes used in a way that can cause great harm.

On the app and website Tumblr, a big trend among young people is soft grunge. Soft grunge is modern ‘90s grunge culture with elements of gothic culture. These pages give off more of a dark presence and many unhealthy actions are advertised. Lots of comments and pages have been referred to eating disorder sites within this fashion personality culture.

There is an abundant amount of post and sites that “help” young girls lose weight. With a quick search of “pro Ana” multiple pages popped up showing frail bodies and tips on how to not to eat. It is easy for young girls to go online and find other girls that are openly encouraging each other to starve themselves. Many young teens currently are or have struggled with these unhealthy actions. There is lots of pressures for young girls to have a certain body type. The pressure makes it extremely difficult for them embrace a healthy self-image that may not fit into the norm. Girls use bully tactics on each other to be slim, to not gain weight.

Girls also use social media sites like Instagram to reinforce their image. Positive comments are left on pictures showing women with skinny bodies. In contrast, women with more weight are being harassed with statements like, “lose weight” or “go for a run”. The worst ones are the ones fat-shaming and telling them to “kill themselves”?

Young girls share how to cut themselves because it helps them cope. There are pages on Tumblr where young girls/adults show their scars. They are encouraged to continue until they have reached a final “option” such as suicide. Challenges like the #BlueWhaleChallege is an evident example. Put simply, the challenge is to take a sharp object and carve the outline of a whale on the inside of one’s forearm. The completion of the challenge results in suicide.

Suicide is another issue used among young people. Many with pressures are believing that they no longer should live anymore. Sometimes it is treated as a game, such as in the choking game. Suicide is not a joke and never has been.

After the show, “13 Reasons Why,” was released, many went onto social media sites and joked about putting individuals on tapes. In the show that was based on the novel, a young girl named Hannah Baker commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes for different individuals explain the “13 Reasons Why” she committed suicide. Throughout campuses and many platforms, individuals who joke saying “kms” which means “kill myself”. Despite all of the stories told, suicide is still seen suicide as a joke.

Discussion is needed on these issues. Having an eating disorder should not be cool for young boys and girls. Joking about suicide should not be common. Self-harm should not be considered an option.

Society thrives better when young girls are not encouraged by their peers to have an eating disorders, self-harm or worse to push their peers to committed suicide. They are boys and girls that could grow up and be the next president or find a cure for cancer. These actions are real and are desperately in need of change.


Where can help be found?

There are many resources nationwide and on campus.

  • Suicide lifeline nationwide at 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • On the Fort Steilacoom campus, Megan Irby, LMHC faculty counselor, 253-912-3602.
  • On the Puyallup campus, Jennifer Wright, LMHC faculty counselor, 253-864-3115.
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