Cyberbullying is associated with eating disorders, whether you’re the victim or perpetrator.
Binge-eating, worry about weight gain and body image distress were all symptoms of sufferers.
The new study found that in 10-14-year-olds, cyberbullying is associated with a higher risk of experiencing eating disorder symptoms.
These could also include tying one’s self-worth to weight and distress with binge eating.
Lead author, Chloe Cheng a senior medical student at the UCSF said: “Cyberbullying could lead to low self-esteem, body image dissatisfaction, and unhealthy attempts to control weight, which could impact the risk of mental health issues, including eating disorder symptoms.”
Senior author, Dr. Jason Nagata, associate professor of pediatrics at the UCSF added: “Adolescents should limit social media that encourages eating disorders and appearance comparisons.
“Parents should advise their children to avoid cyberbullying and encourage them to report online harassment if it occurs.”
For the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the team collected data for 11,875 children aged 10-14 from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study in the U.S.
Participants answered questions about whether they had experienced cyberbullying both victimization and perpetration, as well as whether they had experienced eating disorder symptoms.
Co-author Dr. Kyle Ganson, assistant professor at the University of Toronto said: “This study emphasizes the need for more research on how cyberbullying is related to the mental well-being of early adolescents.
“In particular, future research should focus on whether there are associations between cyberbullying and specific eating disorders in early adolescents.”
The study extends upon existing knowledge surrounding eating disorders in adolescents, which have among the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
It concludes: “Cyberbullying has increased in prevalence among adolescents and significantly impacts mental health.
“In a national study of early adolescents, we found that cyberbullying victimization and perpetration are associated with eating disorder symptoms.
“Screening and providing anticipatory guidance on cyberbullying and eating disorder symptoms in early adolescents may be warranted.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker