High Internet use leads to low self-esteem: Study

File Photo.
File Photo. AP Photo/Eric Risberg

A study from Simon Fraser University study shows that higher Internet use leads to increased body dissatisfaction in Canadian women.

The study led by health sciences researcher Allison Carter shows that Canadian females between 12 and 29 are more likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies if they spend more than 20 hours a week on the Internet.

This is the first study that represents the relationship between Internet use and body dissatisfaction among girls nationally.

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“Based on our survey of 3,000 young Canadian women, we found one in five spends more than 20 hours online each week outside of work or school,” says Carter. “These women reported body dissatisfaction at three times the rate of those connected for less than one hour per week.”

Carter also notes that body dissatisfaction results in a number of poor outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders.

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“We need to help girls and young women engage with it in positive ways through, for example, limiting daily screen time, recognizing and resisting content that affects their self-esteem and body image and developing resilience and a healthy sense of identity beyond what appears on the outside.”

According to the Canadian Women’s Association, nine out of 10 girls say they feel pressure from the media to be thin.

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