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As well as the displacement of sleep and exercise, it is suggested that the harm attributed to social media usage is related to the content consumed. The content of social media allows comparisons to be drawn between the individual and fellow users; for example, social media allows comparisons to be made between user’s body images.
Media and social media alike, allow an idealised standard of beauty to be created with these unrealistic images then able to impact onto a person’s self-image, which can then contribute to lower self-esteem, depression and eating disorders(1). Social media and its inseparable content are a vehicle for comparison between users. On the basis of this, limiting social media usage as opposed to solely monitoring cyberbullying, still has a valuable role to play in the protection of good mental health.
(1) Want, S. C. (2009). Meta-analytic moderators of experimental exposure to media portrayals of women on female appearance satisfaction: Social comparisons as automatic processes. Body Image, 6, 257–269. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2009.07.008