Instagram, a picture sharing social media platform, has been criticised for not removing posts that promote dangerous behaviours such as eating disorders, and self-harm. Many are urging the site to crackdown and improve its safeguarding services, over fears that is was too easy for young children and teenagers to access graphic and harmful images.
Typing into Instagram’s search bar #skinny #thighgap #selfharm revealed well-over 100 000 posts accessible to users at the press of a button. Many fear that ‘anorexia coaches’ are using Instagram to actively promote life-threatening behaviours by posting glamorous photos glorifying self-harm, anorexia and bulimia. Photoshopped images posted on the site are also to blame for destroying people’s self-confidence, and this has lead many young people desiring unrealistic and unachievable bodies.
Jade, 19, who had an eating disorder at the age of 11 admits she “scoured apps like Instagram to find” pictures that worsened her “self-image”. Jade worries how accessible apps like Instagram make this photos and how they normalise these really scary behaviours.
Instagram has taken measures to discourage its users from accessing problematic images. A warning that reads, “posts with words or tags you’re searching often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help” tries to dissuade people from viewing photo. However despite the warning it is still very easy to view the post prompting many to believe Instagram is simply not doing enough to protect young, vulnerable children online.