Spending too much time on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram may not be good for women's self-esteem, revealed a new study, which looked at the body image concerns and social media use of 100 female participants.
Effect Of Social Media Use On Body Image
The research was presented at the British Psychological Society's annual meeting in Nottingham, England on Friday. Researchers found that women tend to be less happy with their bodies if they spend more than an hour a day on social media.
Study researcher Martin Graff, from the University of South Wales, in the United Kingdom, said that these women are more likely to think that thin people are more attractive so they become more self-conscious about how they look. Graff also said that these women are more motivated to exercise with the aim of improving their bodies.
The researcher said that spending more time every day on social networking sites, which people use to post images of themselves and to compare themselves with others, is associated with unhealthy relationships with body image and possibly exercise.
"Previous research has indicated a link between exposure to social networking sites and body image concerns, and we were able to build on this by showing that it is not just initial exposure to these sites that can cause an issue, but the daily time spent on them," Graff said.
Graff explained that the feedback women receive on social media could make them feel insecure, especially when they fail to realize that what people post only is nearly always images that depict the poster in a positive light.
Insecure Women May Be Drawn To Social Media
He said that people do not post photos of them looking sick or having "bad hair" days. They would generally post pictures of happy times.
It is also possible that insecure women tend to be drawn to social media. Pittsburgh-based psychologist Nancy Mramor said that insecure women and girls may use social media as a means to feel better about themselves.
Ramani Durvasula, from California State University, Los Angeles, said that vulnerable females who use social media in this manner could be those who are anxious, depressed, or suffering from eating disorders.
Effects Of Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem may cause loneliness, stress, and increased risk of depression. It may also cause problems with friendships and romantic relationships, as well as impair school or job performance. Having low self- esteem is also linked to increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse.
The researchers of the study said that their findings may be important for people working with women who have body image concerns, since the problem may be linked to use of social media.