Three Ways to Keep Social Media Safe
Social media is a topic that I find myself addressing often in my field of work. Social media sites have many benefits and have certainly changed the way that many people socialize. Social media can also pose problems for individuals struggling with disordered eating and body image concerns. Here are three ways to keep your social media a safe place
1. Avoid all pro-ana and pro-mia sites
In a previous blog post, I discussed pro-ana and pro-mia sites and accounts. Essentially, these sorts of accounts are made up of a community of people who struggle with disordered eating and encourage each other to food restrict, diet, and purge. These sorts of online communities are dangerous and triggering, especially for a person who is recovering from an eating disorder.
If you come across a pro-ana or pro-mia website or social media account, there is an easy two-step process
1) Report them
2) Block the page either through your social media account or through your internet browser's settings
2. Unfollow when necessary
Sometimes, social media can be triggering in non-obvious ways. Maybe a girl that you graduated from middle school with posts a selfie on the beach. It's unlikely that she has malicious intentions in posting this picture- but you might see this photo and start down the slippery slope of self-comparison. If you find yourself consistently comparing yourself to somebody via their social media posts, you can unfollow them on your account. Your mental health is important and unfollowing an account that may trigger you is an act of self-love.
3. Help is out there
Unfollowing, blocking, and reporting pages are ways to modify your online environment to keep it safe and fun for you. Taking it a step further, seeing a counselor can help you modify your thoughts about your body image. I am passionate about providing my clients with an area to explore their low self-esteem and my goal is to lead all of my clients to loving themselves. To do this, I often use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and narrative therapy methods. I encourage my clients to change their negative and self-defeating thoughts, which has an impact on their feelings and behaviors. I also encourage my clients to take charge of their "story" and take steps to author a new story for themselves.