Researchers at Loughborough University have teamed up with UK charity Beat to create an animated video that explores how social media affects people with eating disorders.
The animation explores both positive and negative social media experiences and provides helpful advice. Image Credit: Loughborough University
The short, released today (Monday, September 13), examines how social media can be both harmful and helpful, and provides helpful advice for those who are negatively affected by what they see online and to support the restoring.
Produced by A Dozen Eggs, a thriving design company by Loughborough graduates, and funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, the animation is based on research by Dr Paula Saukko, a social science and medical reader in criminology, sociology and the social policy department.
Dr Saukko, together with Dr Val Mitchell from Loughborough and Dr Helen Malson, from the Eating Disorders Health Integration Team, Bristol, interviewed 31 people with various eating disorders during the pandemic – a time that saw an increase in social media use and mental health issues.
The team then worked with Beat to translate the research results into a video.
The video was co-produced with ambassadors Beat Adam Gil, Bre Blackboro, Kel O’Neill and Vicki Butler and incorporates their testimonials on the use of social media.
Commenting on the project, Dr Saukko said: “It has been a real pleasure to work on such a practical and creative project and on an important subject with the inspiring teams of Beat and a dozen eggs.
“Using the easy multimedia possibilities of social media to chat is essential for staying in touch and receiving support when you’re not feeling well, especially since eating disorders are often socially isolating.
“However, social media encourages users to compare themselves to others in terms of appearance or success and fosters constant engagement, responses and insecurities when others do not respond or react.”
She continued, “The video gives the best advice on how to keep boundaries on social media by not following content about diets or fueling negative thoughts and moderating consumption and interacting with friends by. muting or turning off when you feel overwhelmed.
“We hope the video encourages people with or at risk for eating disorders to think about their use of social media and adopt some tips to avoid the harm and make the most of their benefits to aid recovery. “
Colette Mullings, Head of Marketing at Beat, said: “We were extremely pleased to collaborate with A Dozen Eggs and Loughborough University on this exciting opportunity to provide advice to people with eating disorders on using digital media and learning how they engage with the recommendations. . “
Social media has been both a help and a hindrance for those we support: we know that irresponsible content can be very damaging to people who are sick or vulnerable to eating disorders, but at the same time we hear often talk about people benefiting from recovery support communities, especially during the pandemic. We look forward to the results and hope the video will encourage viewers to continue engaging with positive communities, but also to go offline when needed. “
Colette Mullings, Marketing Manager, Beat
How Does Social Media Affect People With Eating Disorders?
Video credit: Loughborough University