Combating Social Media’s Effects on Body Dysmorphia
May 2, 2022
Many social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook continue to promote negative content for those susceptible to eating disorders and social body dysmorphia (BDD). Body dysmorphia is a mental health disorder where one may be constantly obsessed with a perceived flaw and will go through great lengths to fix it.
Social media is one of the biggest proponents in spreading the problem of body dysmorphia and other bodily mental health issues. Social media apps like Instagram should work on limiting negative posts that show up on users’ feeds, but instead their algorithm boosts those harmful posts because users are more likely to continue to interact with those contents. Therefore, this increases the user interaction on their platforms and boosts their revenue at the expense of users’ mental health. It’s imperative that we find a way to combat the negative impacts of social media by working towards the needs of the users specifically.
We created a website that educates people (specifically teens with social media) about the realities of body dysmorphia and how to get help if needed. Coupled with the website, we created a mock algorithm that allows users to input what kind of content they might find triggering and what they would like, in adjusting the posts that would appear on their feed.
Through our website and algorithm, we can educate people about this issue and how social media can affect it, especially for teens that may be susceptible to body dysmorphia. With our mock algorithm, we hope to create an example of how algorithms can be manipulated to help users rather than harm them.
Learn more about Monta Vista High School’s Equity Projects!