INSTAGRAM and Snapchat are fuelling teenage eating disorders by feeding kids “dangerous ideas of perfection”, a Cabinet Minister last night warned.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said social media giants were bombarding youngsters with pressure on how to act and look 24-7.
Damian Hinds says social media is seriously impacting teens’ attitude towards their body image[/caption]
This is making it “harder to escape” the low self-esteem which can plague teens, he said.
And he furiously demanded that tech giants finally “get serious” about their responsibility and protect their young users.
His stern warning comes as several Cabinet ministers will today hold a summit with the bosses of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
The Government is already planning to introduce a new statutory duty of care on social media giants – meaning tech bosses could be prosecuted if they fail to protect users online.
But furious ministers are expected to use today’s summit to demand tech giants do far more to take down not just illegal content – but posts which are harmful.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Mr Hinds said: “It’s time for social media companies to get serious about their responsibility to young people.
“Growing up has always been hard, but the internet and social media heighten the pressures.
“This isn’t just about tackling illegal content, but things that are legal but still harmful to wellbeing.”
He warned that kids are being met with a barrage of images online which “do not belong in our children’s news feeds”.
Sites like Instagram and Snapchat have been slammed for giving a platform for celebrities to put out glamorous which heap pressure on vulnerable kids to try to get the perfect body.
The idea of the ‘perfect body’ is influencing a rise in eating disorders among young adults[/caption]
Mr Hinds tore into the tech giants – accusing them of promoting images “that normalise eating disorders and critical body image by creating a dangerous idea of perfection”.
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He said many users don’t realise these pictures have been “heavily filtered, enhanced and edited beyond what is realistic”.
He added: “The internet may not create low self-esteem, but its 24-7 nature makes it harder to escape.
“I want young people to ask the right questions when they’re online, helping create a generation of safe, savvy users.”
It followed and outcry over the tragic death of Molly Russell, 14, who killed herself after viewing self-harm images on Instagram.
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