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Social Media Impact on Lifestyle

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The average US adult spends upwards of 10 hours watching TV listening to the radio, surfing the web, scrolling through their phones etc. which is over 40% of an individual’s day. Never before in history have humans spend so much waking hours consuming media. Since it takes up more and more of our time each year, it is important that we understand its influence on everything we do.

When we speak about media, we speak about a variety of different things – the literal definition of media is the plural of medium or multiple mediums – and a medium is a substance or a method in which something is communicated ( vehicle for a message ) books, film, paintings, songs, tv shows, video games, magazines, web forums etc. those are all media. When we think about it that way it makes sense that we spend so much time consuming media. Whether you’re at work or school or just hanging around, chances are you’re almost always interacting with some sort of artifact of communication.

As a culture we often stick a “the” in front of “media” to refer collectively to mass communication, it’s an umbrella term we use to talk about the widely distributed newspaper, tv channels, websites and more that create or distribute information like CNN, NYT, or Youtube. Whether we are talking about media as in multiple mediums or “the media”, the ability to navigate the media is a powerful and crucial skill. Media scholars refer to that skill as Media Literacy. As a field of study, Media Literacy comprises and overlaps many different theories and subjects from critical thinking and psychology to linguistics and ethics in technology. Using the definition of Media Literacy by The National Association of Media Literacy Educators and it describes Media Literacy as the “ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication”. Giving you the ability to think through every content consumed by you when you pick up your phone or flip on the radio. Unfortunately, many in the 21st century tend to lack the ability to distinguish media content from reality. Media products/content has distorted both men and women views on the way they look at their own body image. The media has shown what their ideal body type is, while leaving people to feel as if the average weight is not adequate ( Social comparison theory states that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others they perceive as somehow faring better or worse.). According to Ad Media, “Over twenty years ago, the diet business was not as profitable as it is now, with much of this relating to the media. Today, this industry consists of over $33 billion each year.”

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Furthermore, Day in and day out we are constantly reminded of what society has deemed an acceptable image, presenting a negative effect to a mass group of people who don’t even come close to looking like a computer-generated model. But what is body image? It is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like, which may or may not bear close relations to how others actually see us. Nevertheless, it strongly influences behavior and the way we carry ourselves, but the real question is what negative effect these plastered images have. The way beauty is portrayed in media causes dissatisfaction and negative thoughts about oneself when those results are not achieved. A study by Chris Downs and Sheila Harrison from sex roles: a journal of research found that 1 out of every 3.8 TV commercials have a message about attractiveness in it, this determines that viewers receive roughly 5 thousand two hundred and sixty ads related to attractiveness per year or at least 14 per day of these messages one thousand eight hundred and fifty of them are specifically talking about beauty. Body dissatisfaction and eating disorder patterns have been found to be especially prevalent issue in adolescent and collage females’ body concerns become a major issue as females go through puberty. Girls In middle adolescence frequently report being dissatisfied with their weight and fearing further weight gain ( Sociocultural Theory- is an emerging theory in psychology that looks at the important contributions that society makes to individual development. ). Traditionally, most of the concerns about media and body images have revolved around girls but more and more researchers and health professionals are turning their attention to boys as well. A growing body of research indicates that although boys are less likely to talk about their insecurities, they too experience anxiety about their bodies. Eating disorders are also on the rise amongst boys particularly athletes there are also concerns that some boys, some as young as 10 year old, are becoming obsessed with building a muscular physique, a condition that is thought to be related to changes in how muscular males sex symbols have become over the last few decades.

In addition, The National Eating Disorders Association states that the media influence on body image is one contributing factor to the development of eating disorders. Over 8 million people in the US have an eating disorder, 90 percent being women. More than half of girls engage in fasting, vomiting, laxatives and skipping meals. A study found that adolescent girls are more fearful of gaining weight than cancer, nuclear war and losing their parents. Despite the constant effort of bringing awareness of eating disorders in communities, it is mostly stigmatized as a female issue. According to Eating Disorder Hope, 25 percent of those struggling with bulimia/anorexia and binge eating disorders are male.

Therefore, making it not only a “female” issue, yet a problem that is spreading in both genders with eating disorders increasing by 400 percent since 1970. In conclusion, the mass medias depiction of women and men portrays a standard of beauty that is both unrealistic and unattainable for a majority of the society. Causing negative effects such as depression eating disorders, low self esteem and body dysmorphic disorder. Yet, with intervention and stopping the “airbrushing” done by the media, we can bump up the measures of physical self-identity and self-acceptance

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Social Media Impact on Lifestyle. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-impact-on-lifestyle/
“Social Media Impact on Lifestyle.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-impact-on-lifestyle/
Social Media Impact on Lifestyle. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-impact-on-lifestyle/> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
Social Media Impact on Lifestyle [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-impact-on-lifestyle/
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