What young people find when they go looking for fitness information can be highly problematic. They are likely to come across harmful “thinspiration” and “fitspiration” posts celebrating slim or sculpted bodies, or even sites that encourage eating disordered behavior. Worse, algorithms record online search information and are “deliberately designed to feed harmful weight loss content to users who are already struggling with body image,” such as advertisements for dangerous diet supplements, Dr. Austin said.
When to worry
With so many forces contributing to teenagers’ body dissatisfaction and eating disordered behavior, how do parents know when to worry?