Social Media’s Affect on High School Student’s Body Image

Samantha Golas and Alexa Birbara

Social media affects body image and how teens and young adults view themselves, especially on platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook, potentially leading to body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Both men and women are found to compare themselves to unrealistic beauty standards in the media. Being 3.6 billion users worldwide, numbers are increasing, and this epidemic is worsening. 

Hall High School student scrolling through Instagram, looking at a photo of model, Kendall Jenner. (Alexa Birbara)

Some of the most commonly used platforms are apps such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook. Many photos consumed are photoshopped and altered, creating a false idea of how the “perfect” body should look. A senior female from Hall High School states that the “perfect body” is “one that is big in certain places, smaller in others. Something that is impossible to control.” Although she is not the only one who feels this way, another student stated he believed  that “every body is perfect.” 

People have different opinions based on their mental health. This is because of who they follow, what their feed looks like, and how much time they spend scrolling on a daily basis. Some people even end up deleting social media altogether because of its impact on their mental health. 

Not only does social media take a toll on an individual’s mental health, but it also impacts their physical well-being. Body dysmorphia is a condition that usually begins in early adulthood or teen years. It causes an individual to become insecure about a physical flaw. Insider’s Social Media and Body Image states “People end up creating unrealistic ideals for themselves based on what they see and feel distressed when they aren’t able to meet those ideas or self-expectations.” said Neha Chaudhary, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

In a survey of 12 students from Hall High School, 75% selected “yes” when asked if they ever wished they looked like someone else.
(Samantha Golas)

Rather than following influencers and models who show only the positive aspects of their social lives, try filling your feed with inspiring content that shows there’s more to life than what someone looks like on the outside.