Instagram Eating Disorder Lawsuits
Evidence is growing that social media platforms such as Instagram can have far-reaching negative effects, promoting unhealthy body images that can contribute to various eating disorders in teens. If you teen has suffered from an eating disorder due to Instagram’s promotion of harmful body images, an Instagram eating disorder lawsuit might be a viable option. Our team at the Social Media Victims Law Center team can help you determine your legal options.
THIS IS AN ACTIVE LAWSUIT
For all of the enjoyment and connections it provides, social media has also been shown to have a dark side, contributing to various eating disorders and self-esteem issues. Countless teens and young adults use apps such as Instagram daily, gaining exposure to seemingly perfect lifestyles and unattainable body images.
As a result, numerous parents are filing Instagram eating disorder lawsuits to hold the company accountable for its actions.
“The algorithms on platforms like TikTok and Instagram direct vulnerable kids to unsolicited, dangerous, and harmful content, including videos and user groups encouraging eating disorders,” said Matthew P. Bergman, founding attorney of Social Media Victims Law Center. “These companies are aware of the harm it causes, particularly in young girls, with images and videos promoting unhealthy eating. We must hold them accountable for the harm they have caused and prevent further injuries and deaths resulting from the use of its products by minors.”
Why Are People Suing Instagram Over Eating Disorders
Numerous people have stepped forward to file lawsuits against social media companies such as Instagram. The lawsuits call out social media’s negative impact on impressionable minds, especially young teens, who are highly vulnerable to harmful content.
These platforms promote eating disorders on both ends of the spectrum, promoting obesity on the one hand while glorifying unhealthily slim bodies on the other. While encouraging binge eating and consuming excessive calories, the platforms promote eating too little to achieve a “perfect” body.
These images, clips, and videos are spread throughout the platform, garnishing likes, comments, and follows from millions of users and earning places as sought-after results. While some individuals may easily differentiate healthy habits from those less so, many cannot recognize when they begin and end.
A former Facebook employee turned whistleblower revealed in a 2021 60 Minutes interview that concerns about the connection between eating disorders and social media use are well-founded. She presented internal studies Facebook conducted regarding Instagram. This research reveals the company has been aware of its negative impact on users, specifically its role in exacerbating eating disorders and thoughts of suicide in teenage girls.
Facebook’s response to the revelations confirmed the findings but focused on the positive impact of Instagram on struggling teens. Between this information and real-life experience watching their own children struggle with eating disorders, many parents are fighting to hold Instagram accountable for the content it promotes.
The Impact of Instagram Eating Disorder Content on Teen Girls
Although Instagram can be an excellent way to encourage user connections, it isn’t without risks. Unfortunately, it can have a disturbingly negative impact on its users, wreaking havoc on their mental health and creating unhealthy and unattainable comparisons.
Eating disorder content can detrimentally impact its young users mentally and physically, particularly teen girls. The impacts can be far-reaching and potentially deadly:
Types of Eating Disorders
Children exposed to the distorted reality social media presents may develop several types of eating disorders, including:
- Anorexia nervosa is characterized by avoidance or severe restriction of regular eating habits. People with this disorder are often consistently unhappy with their reflection, regardless of how thin they become.
- Bulimia nervosa is characterized by an unhealthy balance of consuming abnormally large amounts of food followed by compensatory behavior, including excessive exercise, forced vomiting, diuretic use, or fasting.
- Binge-eating disorders involve recurring episodes of consuming large amounts of food, resulting in an overweight or obese individual.
- Orthorexia nervosa is an obsession with eating healthily and often goes hand in hand with anorexia nervosa.
Social Media and Eating Disorders: The Research
Various studies tie eating disorders to social media use. For example, one study published by the National Library of Medicine found that individuals exposed to the “healthy eating” community on Instagram experienced increased symptoms of orthorexia nervosa.
Another study examined the association between body dissatisfaction and social media. This study analyzed 1,331 questionnaires completed by participants comprised mostly of women between 15 and 35 years of age. Most participants listed Instagram and Facebook as the social media apps they use.
The study found a notable connection between the frequency of comparing oneself to those on social media and overall body dissatisfaction and a drive to achieve thinness. These desires can make users more vulnerable to eating disorders as they strive to achieve an unsustainable and unhealthy body image.
Further research displays the vulnerability of young teens when exposed to social media’s distorted reality. A study conducted in Australia and New Zealand reported eating disorder behaviors, including strict exercise and meal skipping, in 51.7 percent of girls aged 13 and 14. A similar story emerges in 45 percent of the boys included in the study.
How Has Instagram Affected Eating Disorders?
Social media platforms, including Instagram, are notorious for presenting photos and videos representing a skewed reality. What you see on screen often is an inaccurate representation achieved through various filters, effects, angles, and edits.
Numerous content items presented on Instagram, including photos and videos, undergo extensive tuning before reaching the platform. Various studies report that between 30 and 90 percent of individuals who publish content on Instagram edit the content before posting.
Creating a distorted, more socially acceptable result often starts before the editing phase with specific angles, using various postures and poses as an advantage to create a more pleasing picture.
But capturing the photo from a specific angle while posing a certain way is often only the start. After the picture transports into the camera roll, the user may send it through an extensive process involving various filters that remove imperfections, such as skin blemishes, cellulite, hyperpigmentation, or undesired roundness.
More edits to create a narrower waist, larger features, or a thinner frame further distort the image. These steps take the image further away from reality and closer to the unspoken standard of high-performing social media content.
These effects paint an unsustainable picture of so-called perfection, conjuring unrealistic and unhealthy goals in the minds of impressionable teens. Given the rigorous editing process, the images users see might not be attainable. Photos are often tweaked to a point where reality is nothing more than a distant thought.
Unfortunately, viewing these images can send users on a vicious cycle in an attempt to achieve those unrealistic body standards, potentially resulting in eating disorders.
Who Can File an Eating Disorder Lawsuit Against Instagram?
If your child has suffered from an eating disorder due to the content Instagram promotes, you may have grounds for an Instagram eating disorder lawsuit. Let our experienced team at the Social Media Victims Law Center help you determine your legal rights and potential remedies.
Our team members, several of whom are parents themselves, are dedicated to helping those harmed by Instagram hold the company accountable and have helped several families file lawsuits against social media conglomerates.
Contact us at (206) 741-4862 or fill out our online contact form to start with a free consultation.