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What is the impact of social media?

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Les social networks are often pointed the finger at being the cause of all sorts of ills: misinformation, isolation, and in our case, increased prevalence of ADD. They are usually the scapegoats for finding simple answers to complex questions. A recent review of the literature attempts to take stock of the existing associations between the use of social media, psychopathological factors and the development of ADD. It identifies five factors that are at the heart of the links between these different parameters: the time spent on social media, the use we make of these platforms and the interactions we have within them, the sociocultural influences and the influence of self-esteem and body image satisfaction.

On what basis is this review based?

Social media is now an integral part of our lives. Based on this finding, it seems consistent that research in psychology is concerned with the impacts that psychology may have on our development, our mental health, or our well-being. In this field of research, the results obtained so far suggest that the use of social media will have rather positive consequences if the goal is to create links and interactions with other people while they will be rather negative. if used passively, abusing social comparison and competition. To answer the question of the influence of social media on the development of ATTs, researchers are adopting the CEEC method to Population, Exposure, Comparator and Outcome (population, exposure, comparison and outcome).

The researchers’ method

In a systematic review, it is important to have certain criteria for “not mixing tea towels and towels” (in other words, studies that have nothing to do with each other). The included studies were to determine the use of participants’ social networks (e.g. last yearwe use the feminine here for representativeness concerns although, let’s remember, TCAs in humans exist, are becoming more widespread and often invisible), include a measurement tool informing about the presence of TCA or associated symptoms such as dissatisfaction, whether the article was published in English or Spanish and was not published until 2004, in other words, before Facebook.

These studies also had to meet exclusion criteria. Therefore, they should not come from other types of documents than scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals and be primarily qualitative, not about applications dating or chatting on forums, don’t study groups on social media that make the prevention regarding TCAs, do not study a specific population such as high-level athletes with a higher prevalence of TCAs and finally do not concern the validation of psychological questionnaire.

Social networks: prioritize quality over quantity

After extracting data and statistical analysis, the researchers will draw several conclusions. First, the more time we spend on social media, the more likely we are to develop eating disorders. It obviously depends on the news feed we see. According to the authors, the mechanism behind this correlation concerns the internalization of the ideal of slimmingwhich raises concerns about one’s body and can lead to restrictive behaviors that aim to achieve that ideal.

Second, the more we use social media to compare ourselves to others without interacting with them, the more our body dissatisfaction and self-esteem may suffer. A key marker also seems to be photo sharing. The mechanism behind it would be an expectation of validation, of feedback to others through likes and comments. Yet the link between the number of selfies shared and the development of TCA is inconsistent. In contrast, there is a link between the number of unshared selfies and the concern for one’s body and the body’s surveillance. Negative feedback can lead to episodes of dietary restrictions. Nevertheless, social media is sometimes used by patients and professionals to create interaction and encourage each other in the face of disorders. Finally, socio-cultural affiliation also plays a role. Within African-American communities, there seems to be far less concern about the ideal of slimming. This fact is corroborated by a single study.

The vicious circle of social media

As we have said, and as demonstrated in this literature review, passive social comparison largely determines the influence of social media on the development of ADD. But it is not enough to say that it all depends on how we use them, because in fact we mostly use them for this purpose and some are built in such a way that it continues. Indeed, there is a vicious circle that sets in and begins with a weak one self-esteem, severe body dissatisfaction and dietary restrictions. Incessant comparisons on social media, in particular Instagram et TikTok, whose operation is quite conducive to this phenomenon, fuel these feelings. But social media is not to blame in itself. Any environment that promotes this type of passive comparison has the potential to engender this vicious circle. That is why in the future, it remains for us to create, in real and virtual, healthier spaces for all and sundry.

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