• Nearly 29 million people in the United States will have an eating disorder at some point in their life according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).   Most of those people are in an age group for which social media is a key part of their daily life. Research links social media to eating disorders and the product, DOVE, recently released a commercial showing a little girl’s self-esteem being impacted by social media. We watch as the desire to be thin turns into anorexia-nervosa and to near death and finally see her in recovery. You can watch it at This is hard to watch but I think so necessary because  these are our daughters, sisters, friends and loved ones who can get caught in the downward spiraling cycle that begins with wanting to be thin and can end in death. 
  •  Eating disorders did exist before social media. That girl in that commercial was me at age 14.  I suffered from anorexia and spent months in a Pittsburgh hospital with IV’s to hydrate me, and the threat of a feeding tube when I had dropped to 85 lbs.  Yet I was still willing to starve myself to death instead of gaining a pound. Fortunately, I had strong parents and a big brother who wouldn’t give up on me or let me give up on myself even though at that time eating disorders weren’t on anyone’s radar. They flew blind. Eating disorders can be fatal. Mine almost was.
  • Social media has escalated the problem of eating disorders to a new level. Content about obtaining a perfect body according to social media sites is something our girls are flooded with every single day. We need to make sure they know they are beautiful and do not need to strive for perfection according to unrealistic images. . Tell them this until they hear it and believe it, and then tell them again!!!! This is crucial because that quest for society’s definition of perfection for which they are striving can be deadly.
  • We can do more.  HOMETOWN NEWS is joining the NEDA campaign to ask congress to allocate  $1 million for the National Institute of Mental Health to research the effects of social media on teenagers and children.  NEDA has also called on lawmakers to push technology companies to release their social media research, to hold them more accountable, and to stop them from micro-targeting young people with ads and content. HOMETOWN NEWS will take the first step, by asking the WV Legislature to pass a Joint Resolution this session urging Congress to allocate those funds and to require release of the vital information which allows social media to have an adverse impact on our youngsters’ self-esteem.