A new research suggests that spending lots of time on Facebook looking at pictures of friends could make women insecure about their body image.
The more women are exposed to “selfies” and other photos on social media, the more they compare themselves negatively, according to US and UK experts.
Friends’ photos may be more influential than celebrity shots as they are of known contacts, the study says.
The study is the first to link time on social media to poor body image.
The mass media are known to influence how people feel about their appearance.
But little is known about how social media impact on self-image.
Young women are particularly high users of social networking sites and post more photographs of themselves on the internet than do men.
To look at the impact on body image, researchers at the University of Strathclyde, Ohio University and University of Iowa surveyed 881 female college students in the US.
The women answered questions about their Facebook use, eating and exercise regimes, and body image.
The research, presented at a conference in Seattle, found no link with eating disorders.
But it did find a link between time spent on social networks and negative comparisons about body image.
The more time women spent on Facebook, the more they compared their bodies with those of their friends, and the more they felt negative about their appearance.