Is your teen constantly scrolling through Instagram and Snapchatting with friends?  Does social media create a lot of drama in your house?  Do you find your child trolling various social media platforms for fitspo and obsessively following diet obsessed social media figures?

If so, it might be time for a social media fast.  Yes, I said it!! Consider taking your child off of all social media that can be triggering.

To be sure, social media has tremendous advantages.  It can help us stay in touch with friends and relatives across countries and time zones.  Social media can also help us connect to others with similar interests and hobbies.

That said, when it comes to eating disorders, social media can have a very dark side.  Time and again, I come across clients (adults and teens) whose use of social media either triggered or encouraged the progress of their eating disorder.  What might have started out as an attempt to find inspiration for healthy habits can quickly turn into something completely different.

Constantly scrolling through social media images of fitness influencers with their seemingly "perfect" bodies and highly curated self representations can quickly lead to one of my least favorite syndromes:  Compare and despair

Social media inevitably leads its users to compare their own lives to others'.  Individuals with eating disorders are typically highly attuned to others' appearances and habits and extremely self critical and demanding of themselves.  With this as a backdrop, social media quickly becomes a tool to fuel unhealthy behaviors.

If you notice a pattern of compare and despair with your teen--or in yourself--I highly recommend a complete social media fast.  Getting off of social media and into life can be tremendously liberating for an individual with an eating disorder.  It can free up space for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.  Like any addiction, the social media addiction is a tough one to fight, but it offers tremendous freedom on the other side.

Source: Google

Best of luck and please let me know how it goes!!

About the Author

Joy Jacobs J.D., Ph.D.

Joy Jacobs, J.D., Ph.D., is an assistant clinical professor at UCSD School of Medicine. She is an expert in eating disorders and weight management.

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