You shouldn’t take Social Media as the gospel truth

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, and everyone wants to have a slice of it irrespective of their gender, age and ethnicity. So, more often than not, usually the first thing most people do every morning is to check updates on their preferred social media channel such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, twitter or the Connectd India, the new youthful channel that also works as a dating app. You can say this is equivalent to creating a lot of expectation from social media.

But then how to decide whether you are expecting too much from it? Actually! It creates patterns that you need to look out for such as someone who is online for hours focused on how celebrities, or their favourite actors or models look or act. Now, this makes them feel unhappy about themselves, making them lose self-confidence. Of late, the body positivity movement is increasingly becoming popular on social media with influencers beginning to recognize the need for change and love the body deserves.

Influencers are now becoming candid and have started revealing the secrets of different tricks they use to make their bodies look super cool. Besides, the no makeup movement has also gained ground with celebrities such as Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor showing us what they really look like when they are not using makeups, and filters. Popular brands like Dove and Boots now use different body images to promote their cosmetic products, and start a body positive movement among the audience.

Celebrities share images and tips promoting anorexia and bulimia using hashtags like #bonespo #proana, #ana because in recent times, Pro-eating disorder movements have become very popular across social media. Anyone can easily access such material by following a simple hashtag. Social media platforms have now started moderating pro- eating disorder sites by blocking searches of such hashtags or by applying pop-up asking users if they need help.

However, these blocks can be easily evaded with a little tweak in the hashtag. For instance, the name #thinspiration can easily become #thynspiration. The yearning for that perfect body is not a new trend. It has always been around but with the rise in the numbers of users on social media, it has acquired a lot of importance. In reality, it's a complicated subject with often devastating effects. The body image concerns will always be there, because as human beings we all have our insecurities and as we move through various stages of our lives our concerns and insecurities change.

Youth is one of the most demanding phases in anyone's life, and it becomes even harder for those who are addicted to the social media. And so, if you have a young son or a daughter in your family, spend time with them and warn them about how social media can manipulate reality. Educate them about the tricks celebrities and influencers often use to get that perfect body pose and how this is far removed from the real life.

Monitor the movement of your children, and find out about people with whom they are interacting on the social media platforms, and ask questions about their favourite celebrity or the influencer. Try to find out details of content your young child is exposed to. Something as routine as talking to your child and to know about how they view certain social media pictures, you can help inculcate a more body-positive culture.