Popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter make more than half of their users feel inadequate in their lives and achievements by comparison with peers and strangers, according to a recent survey of 1,500 British adults conducted by a UK charity for the disabled called Scope.
Among users of Facebook and Twitter, 62% said they felt inadequate compared to other users, and 60% feel jealous of other social media users. Furthermore half of respondents ages 18-34 said they feel ugly or unattractive because of social media, and 30% said it makes them feel lonely, according to The Telegraph, which first reported the news. No surprise, then, that half of respondents in this age range said they have thought about quitting social media, and two out of five said they thought they would be happier if they were able to use it less.
Meanwhile another survey of 1,000 British women by Forza Supplements found that 82% of respondents “edit” their holiday photographs before posting them online in order to ensure that they are shown to the greatest advantage; 34% use filters on Instagram to finesse their appearance. Additionally 76% of respondents said they have felt embarrassed by photos posted by friends or family members that included them, and 57% have actually asked these friends or family members to take a photo down because they considered it so unflattering.
The most common reason for being unhappy with photos was “looking fat,” and the most hated types of photos include anything with a bare stomach showing rolls of fat, the dreaded “muffin top” in tight jeans, and any photo with a double chin. An honorable fourth place goes to photos showing them in a state of inebriation, while fifth place went to any photo showing them coming out of a pool with wet, matted hair.
In April I wrote about a study by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Iowa, and the University of Ohio, tying Facebook to negative body image issues among young women. The study, titled “Facebook and College Women's Bodies: Social Media's Influence on Body Image and Disordered Eating,” surveyed 881 college women about their Facebook use, eating and exercise habits, and body image.
The researchers examined the prevalence of negative body image among young women after looking at other people’s photos or posts, and how often subjects compared their own bodies to their friends’. Overall, young women who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to compare their bodies to their friends’ and to have negative feelings about their bodies. In fact the researchers were able to predict when subjects would have negative feelings based on how much time they spent looking at others’ photos on Facebook.