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Social Media Pressure Is Linked to Cosmetic Procedure Boom

If you needed one more reason to loosen the grip that social media may have on your life, BBC.com has one today, with news that makeover apps and online surgery games aimed at girls as young as 9 are contributing to body image anxieties. In response, a bioethics study group is suggesting that governments should step up to protect people from the mostly unregulated industry of cosmetic procedures. The group says young people are especially impressionable.

The influence that social media has over everyday people is truly mind-boggling. From suicides attributed to online comments to anxiety about how many “likes” appear on a post, it sometimes seems like social media may literally be driving us insane. Forty-three percent of Americans are constant checkers, i.e., someone who checks their email, text messages and social media accounts “constantly” throughout the day, and nearly 60 percent of parents worry about the effects of social medial on their child’s physical and mental health.

Statistics show that constant checkers are also more likely to report feeling disconnected from family due to technology (including when they're together), while 35 percent of this group also said social media made in-person meetings with family and friends less likely.

When it comes to body image, though, several studies have shown that Facebook alone accounts for a greater likelihood for depressive symptoms, as so many people are constantly making social comparisons that leave them feeling anxious and/or depressed — and apparently, they are connections that may lead impressionable people to think they need cosmetic surgery.

Social media as a whole is also a known source of sleep problems. One way to combat this is to establish times or “electronic curfews” for yourself and your kids. Vow not to check social media during work hours or school. Restrict usage to a preset timeframe in the morning and after school or work. Don’t allow electronic devices at mealtimes, and always turn everything electronic off at least one hour before bedtime.
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