Digital Leaders Edition 1

The Marymount Digital Leaders write on the importance of protecting yourself online

Living in a highly media concentrated world, we are oversaturated with information regarding health. Particularly posts about how to improve our health and how to prevent illnesses. Although not all are supported with scientific evidence to prove they are publishing certified medical guidance, they all aim to suggest methods to improve one’s health. This is not the case with pro-eating disorder websites that aim to encourage people with poor eating habits to worsen these to fit societal ideals.

Pro-ana websites have become digital platforms for people suffering from similar eating disorders to meet and share inspirational photos of other women or girls and methods to restrict calorie-intake and increase physical activity to lose weight (Mathis, 2020). The circulation of pro-anorexia media can also be seen on Pinterest, Instagram and many other platforms directed towards teenagers and young adults that may have these mental issues. Often, cyberbullying and public shaming can happen on these sites where people send others degrading messages about their inadequate appearance. This activity can lead to the beginning of a whole unhealthy lifestyle for many. In worse cases, people have been hospitalised for following advice from these posts.

Although measures have been taken to reduce the existence of these harmful websites, they are still a prevalent issue in our society. The best possible tactic to prevent these harmful blogs posts or images that may appear on platforms such as the ‘Explore’ page on Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat is to report or block these from appearing on your device again.

 

Reference List

Hess, Amanda. “The Panic Over Pro-Anorexia Websites Isn’t Healthy.” Slate Magazine. Slate, July 14, 2015. https://slate.com/technology/2015/07/pro-anorexia-and-pro-bulimia-websites-blogs-and-social-media-moral-panic-isnt-healthy.html.

Mathis, Charlotte E. Grayson. “Pro-Anorexia, Pro-Ana Web Sites: Popularity and Impact.” WebMD. WebMD. Accessed February 24, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/features/pro-anorexia-web-sites-thin-web-line#1